Atalanta came back from an early Luis Muriel goal to beat Fiorentina 2-1, 5-4 on aggregate, and reach their first Coppa Italia Final since 1996, where they will face Lazio on May 15.
This was the first time ever that Atalanta had reached two consecutive Coppa Italia semi-finals. Their last Final was in 1995-96, losing to Fiorentina, but their only triumph was in 1962-63 after beating Torino.
The first leg was a 3-3 thriller, which meant Atalanta were set to go through on away goals and the pressure was on the Viola to win in Bergamo. Stefano Pioli had resigned since the first leg in February, so Vincenzo Montella was still getting settled. Rafael Toloi and Hans Hateboer were suspended for the hosts, who were also in joint fourth place in Serie A with Milan and therefore challenging for Champions League qualification.
It was a classic start from the visitors, as Luis Muriel sprung the offside trap on a Federico Chiesa through ball and slipped his finish beneath on-rushing Pierluigi Gollini. He had scored at the third minute, just as he had done in a Serie A meeting here last month, except that time Atalanta ended up winning 3-1.
Fiorentina almost doubled their lead on a couple of occasions, as first Chiesa drilled wide, then Jordan Veretout was alone running from midfield on the counter only to fire straight at Gollini.
Instead, Atalanta earned a penalty when Federico Ceccherini went into an unnecessary tackle on Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic converted to equalise. This made it 4-4 on aggregate.
Robin Gosens got his head to a Timothy Castagne cross at the back post, but it flashed across the six-yard box with nobody able to get the final touch. Atalanta started to take control and rain in crosses with Ilicic blasting over from 12 yards, but the Viola were always dangerous on the counter.
Straight after the restart, Fiorentina had a big chance when Marco Benassi sprung the offside trap on a Muriel through ball and Gollini rushed out to parry at his feet.
Moments later, Papu Gomez stung Alban Lafont’s gloves from distance, as it became end-to-end stuff with both teams attacking at will. Duvan Zapata turned on a sixpence for a shot deflected wide off Nikola Milenkovic, while substitute Mario Pasalic stung Alban Lafont’s gloves.
The pressure paid off when Lafont gifted Atalanta the goal, as Papu Gomez’s low strike from just inside the area seemed simple enough, but the goalkeeper got down and pushed it almost backwards into his own net.
The Kevin Mirallas volley was charged down and Ilicic limped off with that recurring left knee problem. Lafont did just about enough to stop Duvan Zapata scoring a third, as he pounced on a German Pezzella error.
In stoppages, Veretout’s free kick was deflected over the bar, but Fiorentina needed the victory to qualify or a 3-3 draw to force extra time.
Atalanta 2-1 Fiorentina (5-4 agg)
Muriel 3 (F), Ilicic pen 14 (A), Gomez 69 (A)
Atalanta: Gollini; Palomino, Masiello, Djimsiti; Castagne, De Roon, Freuler (Pasalic 58), Gosens (Pessina 92); Gomez; Ilicic (Mancini 84), Duvan Zapata
Fiorentina: Lafont; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Ceccherini, Biraghi; Benassi (Simeone 78), Veretout, Gerson (Dabo 65); Chiesa, Muriel, Mirallas (Edimilson Fernandes 88)
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