Juventus have been eliminated from the Coppa Italia at the quarter-final stage. The Bianconeri’s cup run came to an end in Bergamo on Wednesday night, where a determined Atalanta side deservedly advanced to the semi-finals thanks to a goal from Timothy Castagne and a Duvan Zapata brace.
Atalanta advance in Coppa Italia
STRONG START FROM ATALANTA
An aggressive start from Atalanta forced Juve onto the defensive in the opening exchanges, with dangerous play from Alejandro Gomez, Zapata and Berat Djimsiti causing the Bianconeri one or two problems at the back. Massimiliano Allegri’s side were struggling to contain the hosts, and it was only when they began to move the ball more quickly and with greater precision that they were able advance up the field towards the Atalanta goal. Yet the home side maintained a threat, with Gomez providing a reminder to that end with a fierce shot across goal from the edge of the box which drew a good save from Wojciech Szczesny.
QUICK-FIRE GOALS FROM CASTAGNE AND ZAPATA
Both sides were forced into substitutions just before the half-hour mark. Gian Piero Gasperini had to bring off Josip Ilicic and send on Mario Pasalic, while Allegri sent on Joao Cancelo in place of Giorgio Chiellini, shifting Mattia De Sciglio into the centre of defence alongside Daniele Rugani.
Barely ten minutes after coming on, Cancelo committed a grave error when he lost the ball at the back, allowing Castagne to bear down on the Juve box and fire a ferocious right-footed effort past Szczesny and into the back of the net. And there was worse to come for Juve, as Atalanta instantly doubled their lead through Zapata, who picked the ball up on the edge of the box before turning on a sixpence and hitting the target to make it 2-0. In the aftermath, Allegri was sent to the stands for protesting a foul on Paulo Dybala in the build-up to the goal.
ZAPATA PUTS THE TIE TO BED AGAINST LIMP JUVE
A marked improvement was needed from Juventus in the second half, and there were encouraging signs early on as first Federico Bernardeschi burst forward only to be thwarted at the last by Marten De Roon, before Rugani headed just wide of the target soon afterwards. The Bianconeri kept pushing and seemed to unsettle Atalanta at times, but the home side had enough quality to ease the pressure and keep the Juve defence on their toes. With Douglas Costa brought on to replace Dybala on the hour mark, Juve worked their best chance of the game on 65 minutes as Sami Khedira popped up in a promising position only to fire straight at Besart Berisha. Khedira was in turn replaced by Miralem Pjanic, but in spite of their efforts Juventus were unable to work any clear-cut chances. There was, however, still time for another defensive mishap, when De Sciglio fluffed a pass to Szczesny to let in Zapata, who nipped round the keeper and stroked home for 3-0. As the net bulged, Juventus’ Coppa Italia adventure came to an end after a golden four years.
ATALANTA 3-0 JUVENTUS (HT 2-0)
Scorers: Castagne 37, Zapata 39, Zapata 86.
Berisha; Toloi, Djimsiti, Palomino (Masiello 89); Hateboer, De Roon (Gosens 90+1), Freuler, Pessina, Castagne; Ilicic (Pasalic 27), Gomez; Zapata.
Subs not used: Gollini, Rossi, Mancini, Pessina, Reca, Kulusevski, Barrow, Piccoli
Szczesny; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini (Cancelo 27), Alex Sandro; Khedira (Pjanic 71), Bentancur, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Dybala (Douglas Costa 61), Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Caceres, Spinazzola, Emre Can, Kean.
ASSISTANTS: Tonolini, Tegoni.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: La Penna.
VAR: Doveri, Marrazzo.
YELLOW CARDS: Djimsiti 44, Freuler 45+2, Hateboer 54, Pjanic 79, Matuidi 88.