Pato powers Milan into semis
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Alexandre Pato struck twice in the first half as AC Milan beat Sampdoria 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia.

The Brazilian striker opened the scoring at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in the 17th minute before adding his second five minutes later.

Samp pulled a goal back six minutes into the second half through Stefano Guberti but the hosts could not find the equaliser against the Serie A leaders. The victory has thrown Milan into a last-four tie against Palermo.

Milan dominated possession and took a deserved lead. Thiago Silva headed a corner towards the area and Pato's right-footed strike beat Sampdoria goalkeeper Junior Costa.

The hosts had little time to react as Milan doubled their lead midway through the first half. New signing Urby Emanuelson fed Pato inside the area and he hit the ball past Junior Costa from 15 yards.

Samp could have reduced the deficit before half-time but on-loan Manchester United striker Federico Macheda's strike from outside the area was kept out by AC Milan goalkeeper Flavio Roma.

The hosts pushed forward more aggressively in the second half and were rewarded when Guberti nodded in Massimo Maccarone's cross. Junior Costa then made a fine save from Robinho's ten-yard effort to keep his team in the game.

On the hour mark, Macheda's right-footed strike from the edge of the area forced Roma to fully stretch to clear.

There was added drama when Antonio Cassano entered the game for Milan in the 78th minute against the team he left in acrimonious circumstances during the winter break. He did threaten to score but his long-range effort whistled past the far post.