Juventus FC survived a late rally from Atalanta BC to reach the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Thursday as they set up an attractive tie with Milan AC. The Turin side lost 2-1 on the night but went through 5-4 on aggregate thanks to the cushion of a 4-2 win in the home leg.
Marcello Lippi’s Juventus side could have gone behind as early as the fourth minute when Gianni Comandini was brought down in the area by French international Lilian Thuram. But Italy midfield player Cristian Doni's penalty hit the post and the referee did not order it to be retaken despite what looked like encroachment by visiting players.
Eight minutes later Juventus took the lead and seemed to have killed the game off as Christian Zenoni's cross was picked up by Marcelo Zalayeta who fired into the far corner to extended his side's aggregate lead to 5-2
Atalanta lacked the invention to break down an experienced Juventus side and João Batista Inacio missed an open goal when Atalanta created a rare chance. But he made up for it 18 minutes from the end, crossing from the left for youth-team player Rolando Bianchi to tap in. Three minutes later, Inacio fired in Comandini's cross to give the home side the lead on the night and set up a grandstand finish.
But Juventus held out to secure a showdown with Milan - 5-3 winners on aggregate over S.S. Lazio after Wednesday's second leg - and spoil Atalanta coach Giovanni Vavassori's 50th birthday.
Revised semi-final draw:
Milan AC v Juventus FC
(first leg 23 January, second leg 6 February)
Brescia Calcio v Parma AC
(first leg 23 January, second leg 7 February).
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