Atalanta beats Fiorentina to reach Italian Cup final
BERGAMO, Italy (AP) — Atalanta added another chapter to a dream season by reaching the Italian Cup final.
The Bergamo-based club came from a goal down to beat Fiorentina 2-1 Thursday in the second leg of the semifinals for a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Atalanta was coming off a come-from-behind win at second-place Napoli in Serie A that brought the squad level on points with fourth-place AC Milan in the fight for the last Champions League spot. And in the Cup quarterfinals, Atalanta eliminated defending champion Juventus 3-0.
“It’s a huge emotion,” said Atalanta captain Alejandro “Papu” Gomez, who scored the winning goal after earning a penalty for the equalizer. “All we were thinking about after beating Juventus was bringing the fans down to Rome.”
In the May 15 final, Atalanta will face Lazio at the Roman club’s ground, the Stadio Olimpico.
Lazio eliminated AC Milan on Wednesday.
Atalanta’s only major title was the 1963 Italian Cup. Clubs from Turin, Milan, Rome and Naples have claimed the last 16 Italian Cups, with Parma the last outsider to take the title in 2002.
After a wild 3-3 first leg, there was more scoring early on when Luis Muriel fired Fiorentina in front three minutes in, finishing easily following an excellent through ball from Federico Chiesa.
Less than 10 minutes later, Atalanta earned a penalty following a foolish challenge from Fiorentina defender Federico Ceccherini Gomez. Former Fiorentina forward Josip Ilicic converted the penalty.
Gomez scored the winner in the 69th with some help from Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont, who couldn’t handle a shot from the Atalanta captain and deflected it into his own net.
Before the match, fans clashed with police outside the stadium and fireworks were thrown at Fiorentina’s bus. There was also some fan trouble shortly after kickoff, when Atalanta supporters threw a flare onto the pitch, causing the match to be suspended for a short moment.