Piatek scores 2 as Milan beats Napoli to reach semifinals
MILAN (AP) — Krzysztof Piatek was given a standing ovation when he went off the field on Tuesday after scoring two goals on his full AC Milan debut to send his new side into the Italian Cup semifinals.
Piatek, who joined Milan from Genoa last week for a reported 35 million euros ($40 million), scored both goals inside 27 minutes to help Milan beat Napoli 2-0.
“I expected a night like this, I said that I was ready and today I got a brace,” Piatek said. “And this is just the start. Both goals were great, even if they were different. Today went well but I already have my mind on the next match against Roma. ... I only want to score goals and I repeat, I feel good and I was born ready.”
The Poland forward had come off the bench against Napoli in the league this past weekend for the final 19 minutes of a 0-0 draw.
He was given his first Milan start at San Siro and it took him less than 11 minutes to open his Rossoneri account.
Nikola Maksimovic allowed a long ball from Diego Laxalt to bounce and Piatek ran into the area and drilled it into the bottom right corner.
Piatek’s second was even better as he controlled the ball on his chest, cut inside Kalidou Koulibaly and curled a shot between the defender and Maksimovic, into that same far bottom corner.
The 23-year-old Piatek is the cup’s top scorer, having netted four on his debut for Genoa against Lecce and another two against Virtus Entella, when his old side went out on penalties.
Piatek replaced Gonzalo Higuain and his threat in front of goal will give Milan hope that he can lead it into the Champions League. Milan currently occupies fourth place in Serie A, the final qualifying spot for Europe’s premier club competition, but has only one more point than Roma and two more than Sampdoria.
At the other end, Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made several crucial saves as the Rossoneri booked a semifinal spot against either city rival Inter Milan or Lazio, which face each other on Thursday.