Wednesday night sees the final of the Coppa Italia played for the first time ever at the Mapei Stadium, in Reggio Emilia. Up against each other are Juventus and Atalanta, two sides with very different historic records in this competition.
Juventus, Italy’s top club, have won this competition more than any club in history. They’ve won it on 13 occasions, including four in a row between 2015-2018 when they were at the peak of their powers in Serie A. In 2019-20 they lost in the final to Napoli but only after the game went to penalties. This will be their 20th appearance in the Coppa Italia final (a record) and their sixth appearance in the last seven years.
As for Atalanta, they’ve been in the final four times, losing three of them. The only time they won it was way back in 1963. However, they did make the recent 2019 final, losing 2-0 to Lazio thanks to two late goals.
The road to the final
Unlike other domestic Cups like the FA Cup in England, there aren’t endless rounds to get through here. Teams in Serie A will only have to get through three rounds to book their place in the final.
Atalanta beat Cagliari 3-1 first up before going on to beat the ever-resilient Lazio 3-1. In the semis it was Napoli they were up against. After a hard-fought 0-0 draw away, they then went on to beat them 3-1 at home mostly thanks to Matteo Pessina, who scored twice.
As for Juventus, they started with a hard-fought 3-2 extra-time win over Genoa before finding things a lot more comfortable against SPAL, beating them 4-0. They then faced the toughest task of all in the semis against the newly-crowned Serie A champions Inter Milan.
Juventus did most of the hard work in the first leg and there are no prizes for guessing who came up with the goals. Yes, a Cristiano Ronaldo double was too good for Inter on the night, who hit back through Lautaro Martinez as Juve won 2-1. In the second leg, Juve protected their lead well and secured the 0-0 draw that was good enough to get them through to the big game.
Match winner market
It’s not often that both sides are available at similar odds but that’s the case here:
There are good reasons for those prices being the way they are.
Juventus have a remarkably strong record in this competition, especially in the last few seasons. After all, a team who plays so much Champions League football should know how to equip themselves adequately in big games. The downside to Juve is that they’ve been a shadow of themselves this season and right now, they may not even finish Top 4 to secure a Champions League place.
As for Atalanta, they’re likely to finish Top 3 in Serie A, an excellent achievement. They’ve played good attacking football all season and have been in good form recently, as well. Between early March and mid-May they were unbeaten in 10 Serie matches, eight of which they won. That run included beating Juve 1-0 at home on April 18 thanks to a late Ruslan Malinovsky winner.
Results between the two have been pretty even over the past few seasons. The last seven games between them produced four draws, one Juve win and two Atalanta wins, so you can see why the odds are so tight.
Atalanta for glory
As we’ve seen just now, this could be an extremely tight game between two well-matched sides in terms of players, performances this season and results between the two over the past few years.
With that in mind, if you were playing the match winner market, a draw after 90 minutes looks the best option of the three. As we mentioned, the last seven between these two teams produced four games, a very high proportion indeed.
But there might be a slightly better bet: one of the aspects of this match we didn’t yet mention is that Juve are still desperately fighting for a Top 4 finish and this match is sandwiched between their penultimate and final game of the season. It may just be that coach Andrea Pirlo takes a pragmatic approach and rests a couple of players knowing they have arguably the biggest game of the season just a few days’ later.
RECOMMNDED BET: Back Atalanta to win Coppa Italia at 1.83
Atalanta are almost guaranteed a Top 3 spot already and with so little joy in the Coppa Italia over the years, they may decide to really give it their best shot.
If you back Atalanta to Win the Cup you’ll get paid out if they win in 90 minutes, after extra-time or on penalties. The last two are real possibilities because of how many draws these two sides produce. It’s available at 1.83 and looks the pick of a mouth-watering game.