Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Atalanta 1-2 Juventus: Three Major Talking Points After Wednesday’s Coppa Italia Final

Tom Dunstan in Editorial 20 May 2021

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While it might not have been at the top of their priority list earlier in the season, Juventus did manage to lift their 15th Coppa Italia crown after what was a rollercoaster night on Wednesday.

Although more scrutiny might lie ahead for the now-former Italian champions, Federico Chiesa’s late strike was enough to clinch a hard-fought 2-1 win against Atalanta after a real second-half flurry.

With The Old Lady once again breaking Italian Cup history, we have taken a look at three major talking points after a jubilant night at the Mapei Stadium.

A First And Last Title For Pirlo?

If you had simply offered Juventus fans just a Coppa Italia title at the start of the season, there is no doubt that the Italian giants would have considered that to be a hugely disappointing year in Turin.

However, after opening the 2020/21 campaign back in September, Dejan Kulusevski and Chiesa’s strikes on Wednesday could turn out to be just a minor bounce for under-pressure boss Andrea Pirlo.

Although the former World Cup-winner might have lifted his first piece of silverware as a manager in Reggio Emilia, Juventus sacrificed their Serie A crown this season and are still in a real uphill battle to secure Champions League football for next year.

Knowing that they need favours from elsewhere on the final round of fixtures this weekend, it has been widely reported over the past month that Pirlo could already be on his way out of Turin.

Despite putting in a far more polished display in the second-half on Wednesday night, it still remains to be seen if Juventus’ midweek Coppa Italia success will be enough to buy Pirlo some more time.

A Tale Of Two Halves For Atalanta

After landing themselves a 1-0 victory when they faced off against Juventus on Serie A duties last month, Atalanta made the trip to the Mapei Stadium in midweek confident of piling more pressure onto Pirlo’s shoulders.

However, while fans might have returned for the first time since March on Wednesday night, the Bergamo-based outfit endured what was a real tale of two halves in their Coppa Italia showdown.

While Ruslan Malinovskiy might have recorded a deserved first-half equalizer moments before the whistle, Atalanta really failed to keep up that momentum after the restart.

Dominating large spells of the first-half, attacking talisman Duvan Zapata caused a nightmare for Matthijs de Ligt and Juventus’ defence in the opening 45. But, sadly for La Dea, both José Luis Palomino and Zapata himself could not take the chances that fell their way before the break.

Now having to settle for a Coppa Italia runners-up medal for the second time in the space of three seasons, Atalanta will simply have their sights set on officially announcing a Champions League return when they wrap up the 2020/21 campaign this weekend.

Chiesa Haunts La Dea Again

While many expected Cristiano Ronaldo to once again be the man to drag Juventus over the finish line on Wednesday night, it was a quiet outing for the former Real Madrid superstar at the Mapei Stadium.

With his own individual future in Turin still up in the air, it was Federico Chiesa who stole all of the headlines and cemented his spot in Juve folk law after an eye-catching second-half performance.

Coming out for the second-half like a team who knew what was on the line, the 23-year-old spearheaded Pirlo’s charge for success and his winning goal in the 73rd minute crushed La Dea’s hopes of lifting their first Coppa Italia title since 1963.

Rattling the post and asking Gian Piero Gasperini’s side a string of questions, Chiesa was not to be denied and eventually got his reward after a neat one-two with opening goalscorer and former Atalanta man Kulusevski.

Quickly becoming a real nightmare for Atalanta, Chiesa’s late winner took his tally against Wednesday’s opponents to five goals in all competitions – against no other Serie A side has he scored more.

Match Report

Atalanta: Gollini (6.5), Palomino (6), Romero (6), Toloi (5.5), Hateboer (6), De Roon (7), Freuler (6), Gosens (6), Pessina (7), Malinovskyi (7.5), Zapata (6.5)

Juventus: Buffon (6.5), Cuadrado (6.5), De Ligt (5.5), Chiellini (6), Danilo (5), McKennie (7.5), Bentancur (7.5), Rabiot (6.5), Chiesa (8), Kulusevski (8), Ronaldo (6.5)

Goals: Juventus (Kulusevski 31′, Chiesa 73′) – Atalanta (Malinovskiy 41′)

Referee: Davide Massa

Yellow Cards: Juventus (Chiellini 27′, De Ligt 40′) – Atalanta (Malinovskyi 36′, Romero 78′, Freuler 85′, De Roon 88′, Ilcic 89′)

Red Cards: Toloi (Not On Pitch)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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