Juventus clinched 14th Coppa Italia crown as fans return

Juventus clinched 14th Coppa Italia crown as fans return

In a 2-1 victory at Mapei Stadium, Juventus once again crowned as Coppa Italia champions for a record-extending 14th time as they prevented Atalanta to clinch their first trophy since the 1960s. Italy forward Federico Chiesa, on loan from Fiorentina, fired a second-half winner to seal the win for the Turin side in front of the 4,300 people in the stands, Italy’s first soccer game with fans in the stadiums.

“It was a final deserving of the name in front of fans. We are happy for that too,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, who celebrated his 42nd birthday on the same day of their victory. Juventus took the lead in minute 31 on a goal from Swedish winger Dejan Kulusevski. Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi leveled the match in the 41st minute before Chiesa hit the winning goal in the 73rd minute.

Sweden international Dejan Kulusevski, who scored a goal and assisted on Chiesa’s winner, hailed as Man of the Match. Gianluigi Buffon, who played the last match of his career, lifted his record-equaling sixth Coppa Italia. “Today was a great emotion. To finish like this makes me proud and I was delighted to share with my teammates many adventures up to this final,” the 43-year-old Buffon said.

Andrea Pirlo’s side, who have conceded the Serie A title for the first time in 10 years this season, lifted their first Coppa Italia trophy since 2018 since Napoli won last year’s cup. It was Pirlo’s second trophy in his first season in Turin, having lifted the Italian Super Cup in January. Meanwhile, Atalanta was aiming for its first Italian Cup trophy since 1963 after losing three previous finals, including in 2019 to Lazio.

“Winning the title in Italy is a great difficulty for teams outside the ‘big ones’ and that’s the same for the Italian Cup,” Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said. “We’re happy to have got to the final, playing it at level terms. Just as we are happy to have qualified for the Champions League for the third successive year. Achieving our goals are our wins.”

About 4,300 supporters were able to celebrate inside the stadium for one of the first times in Italy in more than a year after the Italian government gave its approval for the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia to be at 20% capacity. It is learnt that spectators have been barred from matches in Italy for the majority of the past year during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pirlo’s side will now focus on wrapping up the Serie A season by winning the finale match against Bologna with the hopes that either AC Milan or Napoli fall to clear a path to the top four. They currently sit on the fifth place of the Serie A table with 75 points, winning 22 of 37 games before the final matchup. They are 3 points behind Atalanta on the second place.

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