Friday was a big day in young Mario Pašalić’s career. The Chelsea loanee started AC Milan’s match against Juventus only on the bench, but by the end of the day, made a most important contribution and scoring the winning penalty kick in the shootout.
The two Italian giants were playing each other in Doha, Qatar, in the Italian league’s equivalent of the Charity Shield, i.e. the Super Cup between the previous season’s league and cup winners. This was now the third year running that this match was scheduled for the winter break as opposed to the start of the season, and for the sixth time in eight years, it was held outside of Italy.
Juve took the lead in the 18th minute via Giorgio Chiellini but Milan were back on level terms before the end of the first half. An intense second half saw chances go begging at either end, with both old Buffon and
new Buffon Donnarumma showing their skills, too. The match eventually went to penalty kicks and when Donnarumma saved Dybala’s shot, Pašalić stepped up to the greatest moment of his young career to win the Cup for Milan.
Afterwards, the 21-year-old reflected on the magnitude of the occasion.
“I tried to stay relaxed and calm, because I knew it was the penalty for the trophy. I am 21 years old, I felt all the responsibility on my back, it was the most important kick of my career, there were big emotions and I am very happy.”
“It felt unbelievable, all the emotions came, I remembered when I was a child I dreamed of something like this, so I’m very happy. I dedicate it to my family, my friends and all those who helped me in my career.”
Pašalić had a rough start to his season, but has become much more involved lately for Milan — he’s played in eight consecutive matches, including five starts. As far as his future goes, anything’s possible at the moment.
“We will see at the end of the season.”
-Mario Pašalić; source: Mediaset Premium via Football Italia
Until then, keep up the good work, Mario!