Tuesday February 26 2019
Gasp: 'Away goal fundamental'

Gian Piero Gasperini has Papu Gomez back and believes it’s “fundamental” Atalanta get an away goal against Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia semi-final.

The first leg kicks off on Wednesday at 20.00 GMT at the Stadio Franchi.

“It’s going to be a very important match for the season, seeing as we reached this semi-final by eliminating Juventus, clearly we also raised expectations and hopes,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“This is certainly a fundamental moment for the campaign. I expect a difficult test, as Fiorentina are undoubtedly a great team who are playing with a lot of enthusiasm. They have marvellous young talents and further reinforced in the January transfer window.

“They want to reach Europe, as do we, and this is technically the shortest path to qualification, but not necessarily the simplest. This is only the first half of the tie, but the away game will be an important result.”

Fiorentina grabbed a 3-3 draw with Inter on Sunday evening amid controversy, so Gasperini was asked if he expects more tension around the refereeing decisions tomorrow.

“Fortunately, I believe that with every game we start from scratch. There has been a lot of controversy this season, but tomorrow is a different match and we hope there will be no problems.”

Atalanta have a massive boost with the return of captain Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez to the squad after injury.

“He is a fundamental player for us. We’ve also got Marten de Roon back, as he was suspended against Torino, and are ready to play to the best of our abilities.

“I believe this first leg is where we lay the foundations and it’s crucial to get an away goal. We lost our last two in Serie A, but this is a completely different tournament and we’re motivated to show what we can do.”

Remo Freuler and Berat Djimsiti are suspended for the first leg.

Atalanta squad for Fiorentina: Berisha, Rossi, Gollini; Toloi, Masiello, Palomino, Reca, Castagne, Mancini, Hateboer, Ibanez; De Roon, Pessina, Kulusevski, Pasalic; Gomez, Piccoli, Ilicic, Duvan Zapata, Barrow

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