TIM Cup Semi-final 2nd leg: Match preview
The Bianconeri are close to reaching their fourth TIM Cup final in a row, having reached the last three since 2015 and emerging victorious in each.
La Vecchia Signora hold a 1-0 lead on aggregate from the first leg, played on 31 January, thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s goal in the third minute in Bergamo. Pipita took the ball in his stride from an incisive Miralem Pjanic through pass that split the defence, as the Argentine cut into the box from the left and kept his cool to slot past Etrit Berisha in the Atalanta goal. The hosts almost had a way back into the game when Medhi Benatia was adjudged by VAR to have committed a handball in the box. However, Gianluigi Buffon was able to guess the right way, diving to his left to deny Papu Gomez from the spot.
Juve went close to adding a second from a fierce strike from Higuain that Berisha tipped over his bar, and Blaise Matuidi just put the ball wide from a placed effort. Towards the end of the game, Buffon had to be quick off his line to rush out and save from Dutch full-back, Hans Hateboer at close range. The Old Lady held on to keep their advantage intact and record their first ever win at Atalanta in the TIM Cup, now Juve will look to finish the job at the Allianz Stadium.
PREVIOUS ATALANTA CUP ENCOUNTERS IN TURIN
Similar to Juve’s prior record until their first leg win, Atalanta have never won in Turin in the TIM Cup in five attempts, with Juventus winning four and drawing once. Their most recent meeting came en-route to the final last year, when the Bianconeri hosted La Dea at the Allianz in January 2017 for their quarter-final match.
Juve took the lead through Paulo Dybala in the 22nd minute, when La Joya rifled home Mario Mandzukic’s knockdown from a corner, before Dybala returned the favour to play-in Mandzukic and the Croatian got himself on the scoresheet to make it two. Abdoulay Konko pulled a goal back for the visitors in the second half, but Miralem Pjanic restored the two-goal cushion from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time when Stephan Lichtsteiner was bundled over. Atalanta tried again to come back and Emmanuel Latte Lath finished a chance at the near post, but that was to be virtually the final act as the game finished 3-2 to the Bianconeri.
The joint-biggest win by Juventus at home in the TIM Cup was actually a 6-0 win vs Atalanta in the 1938 quarter-finals, matched only by a 6-0 victory against Palermo in 1984.
#JUVEATALANTA MATCH STATS
- In league and cup games combined Atalanta have not beaten Juventus in 23 matches, conceding 56 goals in total.
- The Bianconeri have scored 17 goals in their last 18 TIM Cup matches.
- No other team has gone to the TIM Cup final more times than Juve (17).
- Massimiliano Allegri has won 15 out of 18 TIM Cup matches with Juventus.
- In the last five TIM Cup matches between Juve and Atalanta in Turin, there have been a total of at least four goals.
- In seven of the last eight matches played by Juve in the TIM Cup, they have scored at least one goal in the first half.
- Gonzalo Higuain has scored five goals in his last six TIM Cup games.
- Paulo Dybala has seven goals in 11 cup games, all of those coming at the Allianz Stadium.
- Gian Piero Gasperini has won four out of six games in the TIM Cup, with his only two defeats to date both coming against Juve.
- Juventus along with AC Milan and Feralpi Salò are the only teams not to have conceded a single goal in the TIM Cup.