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Coppa Italia: Kulusevski and Chiesa Tow Juventus to Cup Glory

Atalanta 1-2 Juventus

Juventus finally got their hands on a trophy after a difficult 2020/21 season as they came out winners of the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta last Wednesday night.

I Bianconeri were facing the prospect of a first season without a major trophy in a decade under Andrea Pirlo, but his sacking rumours were put to rest for the meantime with this victory.

Dejan Kulusevski gave Juventus a first-half lead, but that was cancelled out by Ruslan Malinovskyi just before the halftime break. And after a back and forth in the second half, Federico Chiesa scored with a cool finish late to secure the win.

It was the first high-profile game in Italy to have been played in front of live fans for more than a year. And everyone who watched in the Mapei Stadium had a great time after seeing numerous Coppa Italia 2021 highlights.

Moreover, it was a perfect sending off party for the departing Gianluigi Buffon as the 43-year-old shotstopper added one more trophy to his decorated career.

Without further ado, let’s relive last night’s action here in our SBOTOP recap. 

 

Highlights of the game

The Coppa Italia 2021 odds were backing Atalanta to win their second -ever cup trophy since they are in a much better form compared to Juventus.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s men started out well as they were the ones who dictated tempo right as the whistle sounded.

Atalanta had the first chance of the night in just under the third minute. However, they came up short as Gianluigi Buffon denied Jose Luis Palomino after a lovely pass from Duvan Zapata on the left flank.

Duvan Zapata tested Juve’s defence once more when he charged forward into the penalty area during the fifth minute, but Giorgio Chiellini did just enough to bother his shot to go too wide.

A 2-1 win over Atalanta had Cristiano Ronaldo claim his first-ever Coppa Italia title
Cristiano Ronaldo lifts the Coppa Italia trophy after Juventus’ win against Atalanta, 2-1, at the Citta del Tricolore stadium

Adrien Rabiot, who has been underwhelming all season, almost got into trouble when he knocked down Matteo Pessina during the 13th minute inside the box. However, they were bailed out with a no-call from the referees. 

Remo Freuler almost drew first blood for La Dea 11 minutes later with a low shot from the right flank. However, his attempt just whizzed past the goalpost.

Eventually, Dejan Kulusevski curled one home for his first attempt in the 31st minute after a mad scramble at the loose ball to give I Bianconeri the lead. It was his seventh goal in 46 matches for Juve.

With Atalanta trailing by one goal, they continued to press forward with a couple more efforts and they deservedly levelled through a fantastic equaliser by Ruslan Malinovskyi just before the half.

Weston McKennie almost regained the lead for Juventus two minutes after the break upon receiving a volley, but his header glanced wide to the left side.

Andrea Pirlo’s men kicked things up a notch in the second half as they had more chances, which includes Dejan Kulusevski’s second attempt near the half-hour mark that was thwarted by Pierluigi Gollini.

When Federico Chiesa missed his shot after a cheeky backheel from Cristiano Ronaldo, the young winger restored Juventus’ advantage for good with a low finish coming off of a clever through-ball from Dejan Kulusevski.

Key statistics

Last night’s final featured 4,300 fans at Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium and it was a memorable night particularly for Juventus players.

For Gianluigi Buffon, it all came full circle for him as he has now won the Coppa Italia with two generations of the Chiesa family: with Enrico (1999) and Federico (2021). Federico Chiesa wasn’t even two years old when Buffon won it with his father.

The veteran shotstopper now has six Coppa Italia trophies – winning it in 1999, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021.

It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-ever Coppa Italia, which means that he has now won the league and cup in England, Spain, and Italy.

Meanwhile, Atalanta’s Coppa Italia drought continues after losing their second final in three seasons after their defeat to Lazio in 2019. La Dea’s only cup win dates back to 1963

 

What’s next?

Juventus are to square off against Bologna for their final Serie A match of the season. But even with a win there, their European fate is out of their hands.

Atalanta, meanwhile, will take on AC Milan in what should be a banging matchup on Sunday night. The Bianconeri are expected to root for an Atalanta win since it would boost their Champions League chances.

 

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