Gianluigi Buffon is 40 and approaching retirement, while Gianluigi Donnarumma is nineteen and making his name as a top goalkeeper. One of these keepers would celebrate winning the Italian Cup in Rome on 9th May and it would be the much older man. Buffon was still the top Gigi. Juventus beat AC Milan 4-0 to lift a record 12th Italian Cup.
Buffon Was Still the Top Gigi
66,000 dedicated fans watched Andrea Pirlo bring out the Italian Cup to good applause from around the Stadio Olimpico. Both ends of the stadium produced their choreography as the stage was set for an intriguing final. Inevitably ex-Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci was given a very negative reaction by the fans of the ‘Old Lady’. All watched the first half of limited chances featuring mostly threats from Paulo Dybala and Suso. Little did we know what would follow.
Disaster for Milan
The second half began with more skill from Argentinian star Dybala. Donnarumma handled his efforts but could not stop Moroccan Medhi Benatia heading in a corner. Then on the hour, Douglas Costa delivered a left-foot shot that should have been saved by the young goalkeeper. It squirmed out of his reach. A few minutes later another mistake, from a Mario Mandzukic header, allowed Benatia to score his second from close range. Juve were then 3-0 up. And it got worse when substitute Nikola Kalinic diverted a corner into his own net. Towards the end, Dybala tried a chip from 40 metres that would have really humiliated Milan.
Gigi Buffon Still the Man
Just to prove he could still perform Buffon kept a clean sheet with a fine double save near the end of the contest. Perhaps his counterpart at the other end looked on in admiration. Sometimes these final games can see the spotlight focus on goalie errors (Oliver Kahn at the 2002 World Cup final springs to mind) and so it was in Rome. But the feeling is Donnarumma will overcome these mistakes and soon become the top ‘Gigi’. But for now, captain Gigi Buffon could celebrate a fourth consecutive Juventus triumph.