MILAN — AC Milan drew 0-0 at home to Lazio in the first leg of their Italian Cup semifinal on Wednesday and could be left counting the cost of an embarrassing miss by Hakan Calhanoglu.
Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha pulled off a great save to keep out a Patrick Cutrone header in the 75th minute and Calhanoglu seemed certain to score from the follow-up but the Turkey midfielder blazed over an empty net.
Cutrone had controversially scored in Milan’s 2-1 win over Lazio in the league on Sunday as the Video Assistant Referee failed to spot the ball had come off the teenager’s arm and not his head.
At the end of Wednesday’s match, Cutrone went over to apologize to Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.
"He explained to me that he realized it had come off his arm only when he looked at replays," Inzaghi said. "The VAR didn’t see it, Cutrone apologized but he didn’t need to. He just has to continue as he is doing, he has a great future ahead of him."
After a first half of few chances, Lazio had the better of the opportunities.
The league’s top goalscorer, Ciro Immobile, was back from injury and thought he had given Lazio the lead shortly after the hour – only for Gianluigi Donnarumma to pull off a spectacular save to keep out his header from Jordan Lukaku’s pinpoint cross.
"Calhanoglu is very disappointed and sad," Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said. "But we were also lucky. Donnarumma performed a miracle on Immobile’s attempt. That’s football, mistakes can happen."
The second leg will be held at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Feb. 28.
Lazio has reached the final in three of the past five years, winning in 2013. It was beaten in 2015 and 2017 by Juventus, which also beat Milan in 2016.
Milan last won the trophy in 2003.
Juventus won 1-0 at Atalanta in the first leg of the other semifinal on Tuesday.