Coppa Italia quarter-final, Allianz Stadium: Juventus 2 (Dybala 3′, Tressoldi OG 88′), Sassuolo (Traore 24′).
A deflected shot from Dusan Vlahovic gave Juventus a late victory over Sassuolo, setting up a Coppa Italia semi-final with his former side Fiorentina.
Juventus took an early lead when Weston McKennie’s miss-hit shot fell into the path of Paulo Dybala and he hit the ball home.
After this point, Sassuolo dominated the first half and it was fully deserved when they got back on level terms when Hamed Traore, after exchanging passes with Gianluca Scamacca, curled a fantastic effort inside the far post.
Juventus were the better side in the first half and hit the post twice, through McKennie and Matthijs de Ligt, before they received luck when extra time looked likely. Vlahovic’s shot was heading wide before it hit the back of luckless defender Ruan Tressoldi and beat Gianluca Pegolo who had denied them for much of the half.
What a semi-final in store – Dusan Vlahovic’s departure was the third major occasion in the last three decades or so when Fiorentina fans have been left broken-hearted by a player moving to their most-hated opponent, Juventus. And just like Roberto Baggio in 1990 and Federico Bernardeschi in 2018, Vlahovic will feel the full fury of Florence when the second leg of the tie is played in the Stadio Artemio Franchi on on April 20. First of all the sides will meet at the Juventus Stadium on March 2. Fiorentina haven’t won the Coppa Italia since 2000/01, ironically the year when another great striker, Gabriel Batistuta, left the club.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gianluca Pegolo (Sassuolo) – It was a match where both sides played their reserve goalkeeper and both of them excelled. When the visitors were dominant in the first half, Mattia Perin made fine stops from Domenico Berardi and Giorgos Kyriakopoulos. He was overshadowed by the display in the second half from his opposite number though who pulled off a string of stops from McKennie (twice), Vlahovic, de Ligt and Alvaro Morata. It appeared like he might have the chance to take this form into a penalty shoot-out, but the cruel deflection ended such thoughts.
Juventus: Perin 8; De Sciglio 6, De Ligt 6, Bonucci 6, Alex Sandro 6; McKennie 7, Arthur 7, Zakaria 6; Cuadrado 6, Vlahovic 7, Dybala 7.
Subs: Locatelli 6, Morata 7, Rabiot 7, Jorge 6.
Sassuolo: Pegolo 9*; Ruan 6, Ayhan 6, Ferrari 6, Kiriakopoulos 7; Harroui 6, Lopez 6; Berardi 7, Raspadori 6, Traore 7; Scamacca 6.
Subs: Muldur 5, Defrel 5, Henrique 5, Frattesi 6, Ceide 6.
3′ GOAL FOR JUVENTUS! Paulo Dybala diverts home, after being set up by McKennie’s scuffed shot, to give Juventus an early lead.
24′ Sassuolo are level! And what a goal it was. Traore played a one-two with Scamacca on the edge of the box and then curled an unstoppable shot inside the far post.
56′ Off the bar! A square ball is played by Arthur for McKennie whose curling effort has Pegolo beaten but comes back off the upright.
74′ How did it not go in? McKennie met a free kick with a header which Pegalo saved well but then the rebound from de Ligt struck the post and Bonucci out of position could only spurn the ball over the bar from close range.
88′ GOAL FOR JUVENTUS! Vlahovic dribbled in from the by-line and shot towards the far post only for it to be deflected off Tressoldi past Pegolo to surely seal the tie.