Atalanta vs Juventus: Talking Points
It’s advantage Juve at the midway point of this Coppa Italia semi-final, as they take a 1-0 lead into the second leg at Allianz Stadium, to be played on 28 February (20.45 CET).
The Bianconeri will be looking to get the job done in front of their own fans, as they bid to reach their fourth straight final in Rome.
Captain Buffon is back!
It’s as if he’s never been away! After 60 days spent on the sidelines and recovering from injury, since starring in Juve’s important win in Naples on 1 December, Gianluigi Buffon stole the show between the sticks on Tuesday night.
The Juve captain’s inspirational performance really came to life in the 25th minute when he dived low to his left to save Alejandro Gomez’ spot-kick.
That was Buffon’s 20th penalty save in his club career to date and a hugely important one in terms of holding back dangerous hosts Atalanta from potentially levelling the tie.
Gigi wasn’t finished there. With 88 minutes on the clock, he came to his side’s rescue once more, blocking Gomez with a stunning two-footed save in the air.
Two days after turning 40, Buffon was able to celebrate one of his favourite kinds of presents: a clean sheet and victory!
Clean sheets continue
Thanks to Buffon’s heroics between the sticks and an all-round excellent team effort in defence, the Bianconeri extended their run of consecutive clean sheets to five matches and they have now conceded just one goal in their last 14 games in all competitions.
Gonzalo in the groove
Two minutes and 29 seconds was all Gonzalo Higuain needed to break the deadlock in what was a whirlwind start for the Bianconeri in Bergamo.
This was an eye-catching strike by Pipita, who latched onto a long ball forward, made a powerful run into the box and skipped past defender Andrea Masiello before blasting a right-footed shot beyond goalkeeper Etrit Berisha into the bottom corner for Juve’s earliest goal this season.
With two goals in his last two games, Gonzalo is finding form ahead of a big February for the Bianconeri!
Breaking a duck in Bergamo
Never before had Juventus beaten Atalanta in their previous eight Coppa Italia meetings in Bergamo.
Last night’s victory extended the Bianconeri’s winning streak in the competition to four matches, during which time they have not conceded a single goal.