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May 19, 2021 at 8pm UK
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Malinovskyi (41')
Malinovskyi (36'), Romero (78'), Freuler (85'), de Roon (88'), Ilicic (89')
Toloi (88')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Kulusevski (31'), Chiesa (73')
Chiellini (27'), de Ligt (40')

Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Atalanta BC vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Coppa Italia final between Atalanta BC and Juventus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Pitting together two contrasting clubs in search of silverware, Wednesday's Coppa Italia final sees serial winners Juventus take on ambitious Atalanta BC at the Mapei Stadium, Sassuolo.

Last year's losing finalists Juve will seek a record-extending 14th cup triumph to end their troubled season, while La Dea are just 90 minutes from realising their dream of a first major trophy in almost 60 years.

Match preview

When they take to the field on Wednesday evening, to contest just the fifth Coppa Italia final in their history, consistent overachievers Atalanta will have only one aim in mind - turning praise and promise into something more solid and silver.

Bringing a trophy back to Bergamo after a traumatic 18 months in the Lombardian city would not only prove a crowning moment for Gian Piero Gasperini's talented side, but also confirm that they are made of the sternest stuff when on the big stage.

A reputation for free-flowing, high-scoring football has not yet translated into titles, with a runners-up finish in the league possible next weekend and a similar role as bridesmaids in the 2019 Coppa decider - which they lost to Lazio - ranking alongside some fine forays into Europe of late.

Achieving Champions League qualification for three years in a row is, nonetheless, a remarkable record for Gasperini and company; with La Dea guaranteeing their latest passage to Europe's top table in style at the weekend.

Following their frantic 4-3 win over Genoa, the second-placed Bergamaschi have sealed their top-four place by virtue of a superior head-to-head record against fellow cup contenders Juventus, who sit fifth - three points behind them heading into Sunday's final round.

Securing their seasonal goal with a round to spare, despite having such heavily-financed clubs as Juve, Napoli and Milan all closing in behind, bears testament to Atalanta's stellar form throughout 2021. In fact, the Nerazzurri have lost just one of their last 17 league outings - to new champions Inter - winning 13 of them in total, as goals have rained in from all quarters: 17 coming in their last five games.

Top scorer Luis Muriel racked up his 25th strike of the season last week, despite being an infrequent starter for much of the campaign, while wing-back Robin Gosens has plundered 12 goals so far - the prolific pair helping their team to a league-leading total of 62 goals since the turn of the year.

Atalanta will therefore bring a confident and versatile squad to Emilia-Romagna for this season-defining cup final clash. Having already beaten Napoli 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals and seen off Lazio in the last eight, they are now one short step away from emulating the club's famed Coppa-winning side of 1963.

Following victory in a chaotic and controversial Derby d'Italia last Sunday, a dismal campaign by the high standards of Juventus will now draw to a close with a number of very different outcomes still possible.

Defeating Inter - the side that have just deposed them as Serie A champions - in a game featuring bizarre refereeing, a penalty save, two dismissals and endless VAR checks - was one of the rare highlights of the Turin giants' underwhelming 2020-21 season.

Having previously qualified for this Wednesday's showpiece occasion by virtue of a semi-final success against their Milanese rivals - with top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo's San Siro double putting them through - Juve are now in need of favourable results from two matches featuring Atalanta.

Andrea Pirlo's side not only seek to deny the boys from Bergamo long-overdue Coppa glory by beating them in Sassuolo this week, they also require their assistance in stopping Milan from pipping them to a top-four place next weekend.

In pursuit of a tenth consecutive Scudetto at the season's outset, the Bianconeri have suffered a series of humbling results under their former midfield maestro and must therefore rely on others' misfortunes to help them retain a Champions League place which had previously been a given.

Defensive deficiencies rank high among the charges laid at the feet of Pirlo's team this term, as they have now conceded at least once in each of their last 14 games in all competitions - last enduring a longer such run in 1955.

One of those concessions came in last month's 1-0 loss to their cup final opponents, following the clubs' 1-1 draw earlier this season - perhaps giving a slight psychological edge to an Atalanta outfit which have a weak historical record against them.

Winning trophies, however, is in the Old Lady's DNA, and after iconic goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced he would be leaving Juventus for a second and final time earlier this month, only another Coppa Italia triumph would represent a fitting end to the 43-year-old stopper's time in Turin.

Having been granted special dispensation to welcome only a limited crowd to Stadio Citta del Tricolore for the final, the big occasion may still lack a little of its normal lustre. Nonetheless, the 4,000 or so fortunate souls inside the stadium will be set for a final which determines not only the cup winners, but also the future of so many of its key players.

Atalanta BC Coppa Italia form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Atalanta BC form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Juventus Coppa Italia form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Juventus form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Following the weekend's high-octane encounter with old rivals Inter, there appear to be no injury absentees to concern Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo ahead of Wednesday's big game.

However, full-back Alex Sandro picked up his second yellow card of the competition for a foul on Achraf Hakimi during the two clubs' cup semi, so will miss out on the final as a result. In the centre of defence, Leonardo Bonucci is unlikely to start due to a recent knee sprain.

Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala celebrated their 100th Juventus goals last week, with the latter slight favourite to join his Capocannoniere-leading counterpart up front for the Bianconeri. A starter on Saturday, young Dejan Kulusevski will, though, vie with both Dybala and Alvaro Morata for the supporting role to Juve's prolific Portuguese icon.

In goal, soon-to-depart Gianluigi Buffon has been the club's Coppa Italia regular this term and should get the nod over Wojciech Szczesny once again.

Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini, meanwhile, has a similarly full hand from which to choose on Wednesday evening, as there are no major injury problems in the Bergamaschi camp.

After a short period on the sidelines with a thigh strain, Italy international defender Rafael Toloi returned to the team at the weekend, while top scorer Luis Muriel overcame his own thigh problem to feature from the bench against Genoa.

Wing-back Hans Hateboer is another recent returnee, with the right-sided Dutchman set to start on the opposite flank from Robin Gosens - whose goal he assisted last time out - in La Dea's generally preferred 3-4-2-1 formation.

Up front, Muriel will hope to start in support of compatriot Duvan Zapata, but in-form Ruslan Malinovskyi, Matteo Pessina and Josip Ilicic are also vying for places in an abundantly-stocked Nerazzurri attack.

Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:
Gollini; Toloi, Romero, Palomino; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Malinovskyi, Pessina; Zapata

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Buffon; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, Danilo; McKennie, Bentancur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Kulusevski, Ronaldo

We say: Atalanta BC 2-1 Juventus

Football romantics everywhere will have witnessed Leicester City's against-the-odds cup triumph last weekend and a similar story can be written on the Italian peninsula this Wednesday.

Atalanta are capable of scoring from any one of several sources and even demonstrated a steelier side in their league win over Juventus last month.

Therefore, they can take advantage of any uncertainty in the Bianconeri back line - a feature of recent weeks - as Juve end the season with only the Supercoppa to brighten their trophy cabinet and the Bergamaschi celebrate just a second-ever cup success.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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