Coin flips as Juve experience late draw—but Roma fail to capitalize

Not everything in life can come out perfectly. Accustomed to winning many times in the final minutes of their matches, this time Juventus saw the other side of the coin when Atalanta tied the game when it was almost over.

The Vecchia Signora is heading up for the league title, but suffered a small setback against the squad of Bergamo, which is pretty much one of the revelations of this season. Dani Alves gave the advantage with a majestic headed goal that was presumed to be definitive. But for once, that was not enough.

This may not be a drama because the Scudetto is hardly done and dusted, but it was a punch for a team that is counting the days to start celebrating, and of course, feeling the pressure of Roma.

Max Allegri seems determined to achieve the title without giving a rest to his stars (a game against Monaco in the semifinals of the Champions League is near), and didn’t save any ace up his sleeves, jumping to the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia field with everything. 

He found himself, however, with a strong rival, bold and audacious. An Atalanta embracing Europa League spots, who could still afford to dream on reaching the Champions League (difficult but not impossible).

The first chance of the match was for Alejandro “Papu” Gómez, the former Arsenal and San Lorenzo player, who didn’t get to shoot on a pass from Kurtic.

Neither Mandzukic nor Cuadrado were particularly dangerous in the wings, and nor could Khedira administrate the game in the middle. Because of this, the Argentinian strikers were isolated: the defense stayed close to Dybala, and Higuaín only made contact with the ball when he left the area to pivot. Luckily, Gianluigi Buffon never disappoints, and appeared punctually to stop a shot by Remo Freuler.

But the dominion of Atalanta had its prize in the closing stages of the first half. And with Papu Gómez as the protagonist, the Argentinian took a second more to think in the area, and delivered a beautiful pass after a bad move from Buffon and stung the ball with class to the far post, where Andrea Conti appeared and pushed the ball in to make it 1-0 (44′ passed).

In the second half, Juventus found the equalizer. Although they hadn’t done too much to deserve it, a pass from the right headed towards Bonucci and Chiellini and hit the Atalanta defender Spinazzola, who tried to crouch, and unfortunately pushed the ball into his own goal.

And from there another party started. In 12 minutes, the controversy of the day came. After a cross pass to Atalanta’s area, defender Rafael Toloi, in his attempt to kick out the ball, touched it with his hand and the referee blew on a clear penalty. However, the referee’s assistant flagged Mandzukic offside, and the referee changed his decision.

At that time, Atalanta no longer had the rhythm of the first half and depended exclusively on what Papu Gomez could do. Juventus, on the other hand, were carried by the good game of its stars and created another goal with a great assist from Pjanic to Dani Alves. The Brazilian player entered into the area, and with a header put the ball in to make it 2-1 which seemed definitive with seven minutes left in the match.

The win was for more than three points. It was to cherish the championship; to start prioritizing the Champions League and rotating players in the domestic league. But Juventus failed in the final minutes. Lichtsteiner was hesitant in the area, couldn’t clear the ball and Remo Freuler took advantage of this, shot at Buffon, and put the ball in to make the scoreline 2-2.

The tie was fair and isn’t bad for Juventus, who knew that this was a complicated visit. But the officiating was more controversial than necessary and more often than not took the flow out of the game.

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