Gasperini frustrated by Atalanta's 'wasted opportunity'

By Guy Atkinson 28 February 2019 3
Gasperini frustrated by Atalanta's 'wasted opportunity'

Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini was left to rue "a wasted opportunity" after Fiorentina twice came from behind to seal a 3-3 draw in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday.

Alejandro Gomez and Mario Pasalic gave Atalanta a two-goal lead after just 18 minutes at the Artemio Franchi, but they were pegged back by a quick-fire double from Federico Chiesa and Marco Benassi.

Marten de Roon appeared to have given Gasperini's side a crucial advantage ahead of the second leg at the end of April with a stunning strike shortly before the hour mark.

Luis Muriel had other ideas, though, slotting home from close range with 11 minutes remaining to set up what promises to be a mouth-watering return fixture.

"I am quite annoyed because we controlled the game and made mistakes to allow Fiorentina back in," Gasperini told Rai Sport.

"It's a good result in terms of qualification, but also a wasted opportunity to win on the night.

"We were 2-0 up and unfortunately a few too many wasteful passes at the back invited Fiorentina to score. They hadn't really done much until then.

"Fiorentina have some very fast players, like Chiesa and Muriel, who can get between the lines and burst past you if give them time and space. We are a team that likes to attack, so inevitably we leave something for the opposition too.

"We'll meet again on Sunday, this time in Serie A, and put the Coppa Italia aside for two months, but we really want to reach the final. It's the first of two legs, it's played away from home, so it's a result we would've been happy with beforehand."

Fiorentina head coach Stefano Pioli, meanwhile, was buoyed by his side's ability to rally from behind and believes they have what it takes to reach a first Coppa Italia final since 2014.

"We deserve credit for staying in the game and pushing constantly," Pioli said.

"Obviously, we hoped to have more of an advantage from this home leg, but we still believe we have the quality and capabilities to get the result we need in Bergamo and reach the final.

"It was an exciting match with two teams who like to play good, attacking football and there was so much quality on show."

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Guy Atkinson