Atalanta coach fumes at ‘non-existent’ penalty in Juventus Coppa Italia defeat

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini was left reeling by a “non-existent penalty” which gave Juventus a 2-0 aggregate lead in their Coppa Italia semi-final with 15 minutes to go.

Miralem Pjanic’s penalty, awarded after Gianluca Mancini was penalised for impeding Blaise Matuidi inside the Atalanta area, took any sting out of the visitors’ tail at the Allianz Stadium in a game where Gasperini’s side had matched Juventus for long periods.

But, after the goal, they failed to create anything more against Juve, with the penalty adding to Gonzalo Higuain’s first-leg strike to give them a chance of a fourth consecutive Coppa Italia win.

“That penalty was non-existent,” Gasperini said, after Atalanta’s hopes of a first cup title in more than 50 years were extinguished.

“Juventus are a great team and very strong, we caused them severe problems. We mustn’t get downhearted. We came a little closer to the Bianconeri.”

Juve coach Massimo Allegri was pleased with his side’s work despite their narrow victory, which puts them on course to become the first team in Europe’s top-five leagues to win four cup titles in succession since Athletic Bilbao in the 1930s.

“Compliments to the lads for what they did tonight and are doing this season,” he said.

“We will play in a historical stadium, but it must not become an obsession. In the first half we had difficulty closing them down, after the break Douglas Costa started playing in a centre-forward role and that broke the game open.

“Now we’ve got an important game coming up in Serie A with Lazio and then we must be at our best in London against Tottenham Hotspur.”