Federico Chiesa netted the winner to give Andrea Pirlo his first major trophy as manager of Juventus as the Bianconeri beat Atalanta in the 2021 Coppa Italia final.
Chiesa had earlier hit the post after Cristiano Ronaldo’s neat backheel set him up for a shot on goal but a nice one-two with Dejan Kulusevski saw him finding the back of the net in the 73rd minute to win Juve a 14th Italian Cup.
Kulusevski had given Juventus a first-half lead after 31 minutes with a classy curling effort before Ruslan Malinovskyi levelled just 10 minutes later for Atalanta.
The final was played in front of just 4,300 fans at Sassuolo’s Mapei Stadium. It was the first top division football game in Italy to have been played in front of supporters in over a year after the country was hit heavily by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Juventus, fifth in Serie A with one game remaining after winning the title for nine consecutive seasons, were facing the prospect of a first season without a major trophy in a decade as new boss Pirlo, who took over last summer, struggled to lead Juventus to league and European success this season.
Juventus were the better team on the day as they created the best chances in the game against an Atalanta side who were unable to add to their solitary 1963 cup triumph, losing a second final in three seasons after their 2019 defeat at the hands of Lazio.
Atalanta began well as Jose Luis Palomino was denied by the legs of veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon and to add to their woes, Kulusevski scored a stunning goal to give Juventus the lead.
Malinovskyi drilled a shot from just inside the box to put Atalanta level inside 10 minutes but Chiesa coolly finished off a chance as he placed the ball under Atalanta keeper Pierluigi Gollini to give Juventus their fifth Coppa Italia in seven seasons.
Atalanta never looked like they would stage a comeback and the Bianconeri saw the game out comfortably to hold onto a 2-1 win as Rafael Toloi was sent off in the 88th minute.
However, it did not matter as Toloi had been substituted several minutes earlier. He was sent off for dissent shown from the sidelines, which had no real bearing on the game but perfectly reflected Atalanta’s frustrations.
Atalanta face AC Milan on the final day of the Serie A. Juventus will have to keep their keen eye on that result as an AC Milan win will mean that Juventus will miss out on a UEFA Champions League spot for next season.
For Juventus, they have no option but to beat 11th-placed Bologna to keep their Champions League hopes alive but they will need Napoli or Milan to not pick up all 3 points to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition, next season.
Juventus have, however, been strictly warned that if they do not withdraw from the Super League then they will be expelled from playing in the Italian Serie A so that is something that the owners of the club need to consider.