Atalanta beat Juventus 1-0.

Atalanta 1-0 Juventus: 5 Talking Points as Ruslan Malinovsky strike sinks Bianconeri | Serie A 2020-21 

Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Modified 18 Apr 2021

A late goal by Ruslan Malinovsky was enough to give Atalanta a 1-0 home win over holders Juventus at the Gewiss Stadium.

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The big news in the buildup to the clash was the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo because of a muscle problem. In his absence, Paulo Dybala partnered Alvaro Morata as the focal point of the Juventus attack.

Considering the quality of players available to both sides, an explosive encounter full of goal-mouth action was expected. However, a cagey game struggled to live up to expectations, particularly in a tame first half.

Just one shot on target was registered across the entirety of the first 45 minutes, which was indicative of both sides' struggles getting forward.

The second half saw Juventus forced to make a change after Federico Chiesa pulled up with an injury while chasing down a pass, with Danilo coming on in his place.

Luis Muriel went close for Atalanta, with his shot from the edge of the area going narrowly over, while Paulo Dybala failed to test Pierluigi Gollini from a promising free-kick at the other end.

The game was petering out towards a largely forgettable stalemate, which would have been a fair result, but Ruslan Malinovsky had other ideas.

First, the Ukrainian registered Atalanta's first shot on target, stinging the palms of Wojciech Szczesny with a precise free-kick from 25 yards. From the ensuing concern-kick, the 27-year-old shot at goal from outside the area, which deflected off Danilo and into the back of the Juventus net.

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That was his fourth goal of the season as it helped Atalanta pick up all three points against Juventus.

Up next for the Bianconeri is the visit of Parma on Wednesday, while Atalanta will travel to AS Roma a day later.

On that note, here are five talking points from the game.

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#5 Atalanta on course for a top-four finish

Atalanta climbed up to third in the Serie A table.

Atalanta have been one of the biggest success stories in recent years. A provincial team with minimal resources has steadily managed to punch above their weight, leaving the game's followers befuddled.

They have continued their giant strides this season, too, showing they are not a one-season wonder. After reaching the quarter-final in their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League, Gian Pierro Gasperini's team followed that up with a Round-of-16 appearance, where they got knocked out by Real Madrid.

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Their domestic campaign this season did not get off to the best of starts. But La Dea have responded well in recent months to get right back in the mix for a top-four finish.

The win over Juventus means Atalanta have now won eight of their last nine Serie A games, a result that has seen them usurp the defending champions into third spot in the league table.

The Bergamo outfit now have their destiny in their own hands for a top-four finish. With only seven games to go, Atlanta look good for a third consecutive UEFA Champions League appearance next season.


#4 Pressure mounts on Andrea Pirlo in the Juventus dugout

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There was scepticism when Andrea Pirlo was appointed as the Juventus manager last summer, as he did not have the requisite CV to handle a job as big as that of the Turin giants.

An inconsistent start to the season saw questions asked, but a poor finish to the campaign has now heaped the pressure on the 41-year-old.

It is bad enough that the Bianconeri have had one of the worst title defences in recent memory. But what makes it worse is that Juventus are in real danger of failing to secure a top-four finish.

Add the tame way Juventus got eliminated in the continent by Porto, and one realises that Andrea Pirlo could be sitting on borrowed time in his current role.

Juventus' defeat to Atalanta means the Turin giants are now 12 points off runaway leaders Inter Milan, which all but ends their title aspirations for the season.

Even more damning is the fact that Juventus are now just three points ahead of SSC Napoli in fifth place. The Partenopei can close that gap by beating league leaders Inter later tonight. Even in-form Lazio in sixth could usurp the defending champions in the race for a top-four finish.

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Published 18 Apr 2021
 
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