30.01.2018 23:53 - in: Coppa Italia S

    Allegri underlines importance of first-half display against Atalanta

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    The boss says the win gives his side a good chance of reaching the Coppa Italia final but switched attention to the upcoming clash with Sassuolo

    Following the Bianconeri’s Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg win at Atalanta, Massimiliano Allegri could only praise the respective contributions of Gianluigi Buffon and Gonzalo Higuain.

    After two months out due to injury, the Juve captain was back in the side and produced a stunning performance in goal, saving Alejandro Gomez’s first-half penalty and from Andrea Petagna late in the game.

    Speaking after the match, Allegri said: “It’s not as if Gigi has forgotten how to save over this period! I’m glad for him – he’s not played in the Coppa Italia for five years. He slotted straight back in, putting in a fantastic performance.

    "Higuain was also outstanding and got the goal too.”

    The win leaves Juventus in the driving seat ahead of the return match at the Allianz Stadium.

    “It’s an important win and it was the result of our first-half display, when we played nice football, moving the ball from one side to the other and playing it forward.

    “Atalanta came back into it and, towards the end, we made things hard for ourselves, also because we were slightly fatigued.

    “We played a very good first 45 minutes and we managed to keep things tight in the second half. We could have been better in the way we moved the ball, to create more in the final third and be more effective on the break.

    “We gave away very little, though, and that’s also thanks to the work of our midfielders and attackers.

    “Once again, we’ve shown the utmost respect to the Coppa Italia and now we have a chance of getting to the final, but we need to put that to one side now and focus on Sassuolo,” the coach concluded.

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