23.02.2018 16:00 - in: Serie A S

      Juventus vs Atalanta: Match preview

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      The Bianconeri play their first of two matches against Atalanta in four days when they welcome La Dea to the Allianz Stadium in Serie A on Sunday


      For the fourth year in a row, La Vecchia Signora will face the same opposition in succession between the league and cup, having previously faced Hellas Verona, Inter and Napoli in the last few years. Now Atalanta travel to the Allianz for Sunday night’s Serie A fixture, before the two sides lock horns again on Wednesday in the second leg of their TIM Cup semi-final.

      Once again, Massimiliano Allegri’s men will be looking to keep pace with Napoli who remain at the top of the Serie A table by one point, with the Bianconeri winning their last league game in the Turin Derby. Alex Sandro scored the game’s only goal, as Juve claimed a 1-0 win in the home of their cross-town rivals, Torino, with the Brazilian getting on the end of a great cross by Federico Bernardeschi to tap home, following the former’s mazy run.


      After last year’s remarkable fourth place finish, Atalanta are still going strong under manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, having started the year unbeaten in five of their six league games to date. Their last match saw the Orobici tie 1-1 at home to Fiorentina, as Milan Badelj gave the visitors the lead in the 16th minute, with Atalanta equalising in first half stoppage time through Andrea Petagna.


      Juve and Atalanta have played each other twice already this season in Bergamo, back in October in the league and last month in the TIM Cup semi-final first leg.

      In October, the Old Lady opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Blaise Matuidi’s shot was palmed away by goalkeeper, Etrit Berisha into the path of Bernardeschi to tap-in from close range. Just three minutes later and it was 2-0, as Bernardeschi turned provider, slipping an excellent ball into Gonzalo Higuain who slotted into the net. Atalanta pulled a goal back through on-loan Juventus defender, Mattia Caldara who was quickest to react to a Gianluigi Buffon save on a Papu Gomez free-kick.

      In the second half and Juve thought they had made it three when Mario Mandzukic got his head on the end of a Paulo Dybala cross, but the referee annulled the goal after a consultation with VAR, the home side then equalised on a Bryan Cristante header from Gomez’ ball into the box. However, drama wasn’t over as inside the last 10 minutes referee, Antonio Damato called for a Juve penalty when Petagna was adjudged to have handled Dybala’s free-kick. Berishia denied La Joya from the spot, becoming the first goalkeeper to save a Juve penalty from Dybala in-play and ensure that the match finished all-square at 2-2.

      The first-leg of the TIM Cup semi-final saw Juve triumph 1-0 at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, with Higuain grabbing the game’s decisive goal after three minutes. Buffon was also vital, as the Juve number one saved a penalty from Gomez to keep the Bianconeri’s lead intact.


      • Juve have scored in their last 30 matches against Atalanta in Serie A, averaging 2.3 goals a game.

      • So far in 2018, Juve have won all their games in Serie A (six), whilst scoring 14 goals and conceding none.

      • The Bianconeri have scored the most direct free-kicks in the league (four), whilst Atalanta have scored the most indirect free-kicks (five).

      • Juve lead the way on goals from set-pieces (18) and have the scored nine from corners, their best ever.

      • Atalanta's last 10 Serie A goals were all scored by 10 different players.

      • La Dea have recovered possession the most times this season (73).

      • Andrea Barzagli's only two goals for Juve so far have both come against Atalanta, in 2012 and in 2016.

      • Pjanic has made four assists in his last four matches against Atalanta in Serie A.

      • Cristante and Josip Ilicic have the most goals from midfield in the league (seven each).

      • In 14 meetings, Allegri has beaten Gasperini six times, drawing four and losing four.
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