Coppa Italia: Piatek shines as Milan cruises past SPAL

Milan saw off SPAL with little difficulty to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals as Krzysztof Piatek impressed in their 3-0 win.

AC Milan's Krzystof Piatek celebrates with Samu Castillejo during the Coppa Italia match against SPAL.   -  Getty Images

Krzysztof Piatek provided a reminder of his talent amid transfer rumours with a goal and an assist as Milan beat SPAL 3-0 to set up a Coppa Italia quarterfinal against Torino.

Poland international Piatek has endured a difficult second season in San Siro, having scored just four times in Serie A, but on Wednesday the reported Tottenham target looked more like his old self.

Perhaps SPAL is not the most suitable team to use as a barometer of Piatek's abilities, as it never looked a threat, but the 24-year-old showed good composure to open the scoring, before then teeing up Samu Castillejo for his glorious effort to increase the lead.

Milan continued to dominate after the break and added a third goal just past the hour – Theo Hernandez drilling home in style, sealing a comfortable victory.

SPAL struggled to contend with Milan during the early exchanges, with Ismael Bennacer driving just wide before Castillejo spurned a pair of presentable opportunities.

But Piatek made no mistake in the 20th minute, latching on to Bennacer's throughball and coolly slotting past the approaching Etrit Berisha.

The lively Castillejo deservedly made it 2-0 just before the break, curling a wonderful left-footed effort into the top-left corner after Piatek spotted him in space in the penalty area.

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Hernandez got in on the act in the 66th minute, charging forward in typical fashion before hammering a left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

SPAL thought it would have the chance to pull one back from the penalty spot after substitute Lucas Paqueta was penalised for blocking the ball with his arm, but following a lengthy VAR review the decision was reversed, preserving Milan's clean sheet.

What does it mean? Milan sensing a chance for silverware

Given how poorly Milan's Serie A campaign is going, the Coppa Italia looks its only realistic chance of silverware this term. Only Torino now stand between the Rossonerri and the semis, and by that time it might have built up the form and confidence to challenge Juventus and Inter.

Castillejo takes his chance

It is fair to say Castillejo has not lived up to expectations since his move from Villarreal in 2018, but in this contest he showed flashes of the youngster who became so highly rated in LaLiga. A lively presence out wide, he produced four key passes and a stunning goal.

Bonaventura offers little

Milan was generally impressive, but Giacomo Bonaventura was one of few to have little impact, failing to create a single chance.

What's next?

Milan is at home again this weekend, hosting Udinese in Serie A. SPAL go to in-form Atalanta as it aims to move off the foot of the table.

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