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Weston McKennie Lifts Coppa Italia After Providing Assist In Final

Juventus defeated Atalanta 2-1 to claim the 74th edition of Italy’s national cup.

Juventus claimed the 2020-21 Coppa Italia 2-1 with a commanding second-half display against Atalanta at the Mapei Stadium on Wednesday night. Dejan Kulusevski put Juve in front after receiving the ball from Weston McKennie, but Ruslan Malinovskiy answered for La Dea — seeking its first major title since the 1963 Coppa — setting the stage for Federico Chiesa’s excellent second-half winner.

4,300 fans were allowed into the stadium in northern Italy, amounting to the country’s largest attendance since the pandemic began. 

Atalanta dictated the opening stages of the game with Duván Zapata and José Luis Palomino challenging Gianluigi Buffon (playing his final game for Juventus), and some poor back-passes by Matthijs de Ligt and McKennie pointed to a general nervousness in Andrea Pirlo’s side (the manager was coincidentally celebrating his 42nd birthday).

With qualification for next season’s Champions League out of I Bianconeri hands heading into the final matchday of Serie A, this represented the team’s best chance at some form of redemption.

In the 31st minute, Kulusevski’s one-time finish off McKennie’s pass provided Pirlo with momentary relief.  

However, 10 minutes later Atalanta drew level through Malinovskiy’s screamer.

But the second half was a vintage Juventus performance. Cristiano Ronaldo began exerting his influence and should’ve had an assist in the 60th minute, but Chiesa curled his effort against the post.

The 23-year-old Italian winger wouldn’t be denied a second time when, in the 73rd minute, he exchanged passes with Kulusevski and finished at the near post.

There was no way back for Atalanta, which typically averages 16.4 shots per game in Serie A but only managed 11 and four on target on Wednesday.

“It was a very intense final; we have to give Atalanta credit for playing really well, but Juve showed again that experience can make the difference, and we brought home the trophy,” Chiesa said after the match. “It’s true that we came on with a lot of intensity and hunger. Usually that’s what Atalanta do, they step up a gear in the second half, but this time we did it.

“Before the game, I told Gigi you’ve won plenty of trophies, but you won this with my father (Enrico in 1999), now you can win it with me! He’s a legend; he’ll really be missed.” 

Juventus has now won the Coppa Italia 14 times, which is five more than any other club (Roma has nine).  

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