MATCH REPORT: ATALANTA VS JUVENTUS, PIRLO AND CO. CLINCH THE SILVERWARE AS ATALANTA FALL AGONISINGLY SHORT AGAIN

met in the Coppa Italia final with both teams desperate to get their hands on silverware before the season’s end. Atalanta got off to a bright start with Zapata’s driving run setting up Palomino inside the box. The defender’s shot was saved brilliantly by the legs of Buffon. The Colombian himself fired a shot into the side netting with Gasperini’s side really on top. 

 

 

 

La Dea were clearly on top, forcing Pirlo’s men into errant passes and constantly being harassed when on the ball. Freuler was the next to try his luck, flashing a shot across the face of goal. Surprisingly, it was the Old Lady who took the lead in controversial circumstances. 

Cuadrado’s sliding challenge to win the ball was not called a foul, with the ball breaking to Kulusevksi on the right-hand side of the box. The Ukrainian curled a first-time shot with his left foot leaving Gollini rooted to score the game’s first goal.

 

 

The story of the match remained the same however. Atalanta’s efforts finally paid off five minutes from halftime. Freuler robbed Rabiot and fed Hateboer who passed it to Malinovsky at the edge of the box. The attacker, in sublime form, set himself up nicely before rifling it into the net to end the half 1-1.

 

 

Atalanta kept their attacking pressure on as the second half got underway. However, it was Juventus with the first shot on target as Gollini got down well to deny Kulusevski. That was followed by Chiesa striking the post after a backheel flick from Ronaldo left him one-on-one.

Pirlo’s men were on top after that, seeing much of the ball with Atalanta’s high press seemingly on the wane. The game’s pace slowed considerably as no team wanted to concede again. However, the next goal did come and it was for the Old Lady.

 

 

Chiesa played a quick one-two with Kulusevki before smashing his shot through Gollini’s legs to put Juventus in front. Juventus were seeing much of the ball now as Atalanta looked desperate to get level again. Gasperini made a raft of changes but a loss of cool did not help. They were giving away fouls which allowed Juventus to control the game. 

 

 

Atalanta could not find the leveller for a second time in the match as it was the Old Lady who celebrated getting their hands on silverware in what has been an average season. Buffon, Chiellini and Bonucci, the old guards have made it through yet another final together.

Here are our three key takeaways from the match:

 

RELENTLESS ATALANTA FALL SHORT

Gasperini’s side have become renowned for their suffocating style of play. This match too was no different. Their pressure on the Juventus players was relentless which forced the Old Lady into mistakes. Zapata was unlucky not to get a goal himself and they would have been extremely unhappy to be 1-0 after 30 minutes. 

 

 

But that goal did not let their heads drop. They kept closing down quickly and finally managed to get on the scoresheet. Malinovsky, so often their talisman, popped up with another fine goal within 10 minutes of going behind. 

They could not keep that high tempo up for the second half though. Juventus looked far more likely to score the next goal, even hitting the woodwork. Their pressure told with Chiesa finally getting that elusive goal to put his side in control.

 

 

That was the way it remained for the rest of the match. Even a host of changes could not bring that elusive second Coppa Italia trophy back to Bergamo.

 

AVERAGE JUVENTUS GET IT RIGHT

The Old Lady seemingly had no answers to the fiercely combative style of their opponents. De Ligt and Chiellini struggled to contain Zapata while Rabiot himself was struggling mightily. They were very lucky to not concede in the opening 10 minutes. However, a contentious no-foul call on Cuadrado led to Kulusevky becoming the youngest player to score in a Coppa Italia final. 

 

 

But an Atalanta goal was coming. Juventus finally slipped up towards the end of the half, allowing Malinovsky to get an equaliser and Gasperini’s side to end the half very much on a high.

 

 

Juventus started the second half much better, asserting their control over the match. They looked ominous on more than one occasion, with Atalanta looking tired. Chiesa and Kulusevski combined for the game’s third goal which really left Atalanta with a mountain to climb. Gasperini’s men failed to climb that mountain handing Juventus their 14th Coppa Italia trophy.

 

BIG FINAL DAY

Atalanta host AC Milan with the Rossoneri still in danger of missing out on the Champions League. An Atalanta win coupled with victories for both Napoli and Juventus will see Milan drop to fifth on the table.

For Juventus, they have to win against Bologna and hope that Napoli fails to win. If Napoli wins their game against Hellas Verona, Pirlo’s men will be playing Europa League football next season. 

 

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