Atalanta Take Down Napoli to Advance to Coppa Italia Final

Napoli took their men to Gewiss Stadium in the city of Bergamo to face Atalanta in the return leg Semi Final match of the Coppa Italia but ended up crushed 1-3. Both clubs were looking forward to rebounding from their failed attempts to capture all three points in the last round of Serie A over the weekend.

Rino Gattuso called up three players from their Primavera youth squad to bolster his bench due to Kalidou Koulibaly and Faouzi Ghoulam being out after contracting COVID-19 and Kostas Manolas having suffered a sprained ankle against Genoa. The Napoli tactician was also without Dries Mertens who continues his rehab in Belgium. However, Fabian Ruiz finally made his return after recovering from COVID-19, but was not played.

Atalanta were also not boasting their full squad as Hans Hateboer and Joakim Maehle were out with injuries, and Cristian Romero was disqualified due to his accumulation of yellow cards.

Victor Osimhen made his first start since his injury back in November, as Gattuso employed a 4-3-3 formation. He was flanked by Lorenzo Insigne and Hirving Lozano on the left and right wings respectively.

Gian Piero Gasperini directed his men on the pitch in a 3-4-1-2 formation. He entrusted Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata to lead his front line of attack against the depleted Napoli defense.

Atalanta didn’t waste much time as Zapata struck a rocket of his right foot in the 10th minute. David Ospina had no chance as the ball curled into the left side of the box. Atalanta put in another at the 16th minute as Zapata, this time, provided the assist with a nice touch of the ball to set up Matteo Pessina with an easy tap in.

Elseid Hysaj suffered a knock and was replaced by Mario Rui in the 42nd minute. The Dea had complete control of the first 45 minutes as Napoli never created any real opportunities.

In the second half, Gattuso opted for Matteo Politano to come in for Eljif Elmas and switched up the formation to a 4-3-2-1. Quite possibly, to exploit the Atalanta defense with a more attack minded strategy as they needed to make up the two goal deficit.

At the start, that seemed to be working as Hirving Lozano put one in on a rebound from a shot coming in from Tiemoué Bakayoko. Atalanta were under extreme pressure for the first 15 minutes.

Josip Ilicic came on in the 56th minute for Muriel as Atalanta settled in and started to control more of the ball possession into the 60th minute. Diego Demme and Stanislav Lobotka were subbed in at the 64th minute giving Bakayoko and Piotr Zielinski a breather.

Atalanta created more opportunities in an attempt to extend their lead as Ospina kept Napoli alive with a blocked shot from Ilicic and another from Pessina in the 67th and 69th minutes respectively. Jose Luis Palomino was subbed off for Mattia Caldara in the 72nd minute.

The Partenopei started to put some pressure on Atalanta as Politano was able to get a through ball into the box finding Osimhen, but Pierluigi Gollini was in good position and was able to get a hand on the point blank range strike.

Shortly after the near goal for Napoli, Atalanta closed out the match in the 78th minute as Pessina scored his second goal making a brilliant individual play getting past three Napoli defenders and pushing it past Ospina.

Atalanta will now face Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final on May 19th. If Atalanta can take down the Old Lady it would be their second Coppa trophy in their history.

It gets much harder for Gattuso to keep his job, as Napoli will head back home and try and get ready for that Juventus club that is in top form in Serie A.



February 10, 2021 – Coppa Italia 2020-21 Semi Finals
ATALANTA-NAPOLI 3-1 (Atalanta advance 3-1 on aggregate)

SCORERS: 10′ Zapata (A), 16′ Pessina (A), 53′ Lozano (N), 78′ Pessina (A)

ATALANTA (3-4-1-2): Gollini; Toloi, Palomino (72′ Caldara), Djimsiti; Gosens, De Roon, Freuler, Sutalo; Pessina (90′ Pasalic); Muriel (56′ Ilicic), Zapata (Rossi, Sportiello, Lammers, Malinovskyi, Kovalenko, Ruggeri, Ghislandi, Miranchuk) Coach: Gasperini
NAPOLI (4-3-3): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Rrahmani, Hysaj (42′ Mario Rui); Elmas, Bakayoko (64′ Lobotka), Zielinski (64′ Demme); Lozano, Osimhen (78′ Petagna), Insigne (Meret, Contini, Zedadka, Fabian Ruiz, Politano, Costanzo, Cioffi) Coach: Gattuso

REFEREE: Mr. La Penna from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Hysaj, Zielinski, Di Lorenzo, Insigne (N); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 3′