Fiorentina managed to knock last season’s Coppa Italia Finalists Atalanta out despite going down to 10 men, with Patrick Cutrone’s first Viola goal.
The winners of this clash go on to face Inter in the Quarter-Finals.
Both sides threw in new signings from the start, as Patrick Cutrone just arrived from Wolves and Mattia Caldara completed his comeback from Milan, but this represented the defender’s first start in any competitive match for 20 months due to injury worries.
It took Cutrone only 12 minutes to break his duck in a Viola jersey, completing a give-and-go with Dalbert at the by-line to turn in from 12 yards.
Fiorentina almost added a second moments later, as Pierluigi Gollini was caught out by an Andrea Masiello back-pass, but Caldara and then the goalkeeper managed to clear.
However, Mario Pasalic should’ve equalised when his header thumped the crossbar from six yards on a Ruslan Malinovskyi cross.
Dusan Vlahovic wasted a golden opportunity to tap in, trying to wait until it came on to his stronger boot, blocked by last man Berat Djimsiti after Marco Benassi had gone past the goalkeeper and rolled it across.
Josip Ilicic came on for the second half and immediately earned a free kick, which he curled over the bar within 90 seconds of his introduction.
Pasalic was sent clear by a Luis Muriel through ball, only to fire straight at on-rushing Pietro Terracciano, then Robin Gosens missed an even better chance when hitting the woodwork of an open goal on Muriel’s pull-back.
It was all Atalanta as time wore on, Papu Gomez’s pull-back intercepted with real difficulty, and they had penalty appeals rejected after a VAR check for the ball landing on Federico Ceccherini’s arm.
The equaliser was coming and Ilicic fired in from close range on a Malinovskyi ball across the six-yard box. The Slovenian celebrated with a finger to his lips towards the crowd, as his former fans had been targeting him with insults.
Fiorentina shot themselves in the foot, as German Pezzella was already on a yellow card when he blatantly dived in the box for a second bookable offence.
However, despite going down to 10 men, the hosts still restored their lead. It was an inspired pass by Erick Pulgar on the half-volley, finding Pol Lirola in acres of space down the right, where he drilled into the far bottom corner.
Atalanta struggled to get back into it, as Malinovskyi’s rocket skimmed the upright with the last kick of the game.
Fiorentina 2-1 Atalanta
Cutrone 12 (F), Ilicic 67 (A), Lirola 84 (F)
Fiorentina: Terracciano; Ceccherini, Pezzella, Milenkovic; Dalbert, Pulgar, Benassi, Castrovilli, Lirola; Cutrone (Caceres 73), Vlahovic (Chiesa 88)
Atalanta: Gollini; Djimsiti, Caldara (Palomino 77), Masiello (Gomez 57); Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler (Ilicic 46), Gosens; Malinovskyi, Pasalic; Muriel
Sent off: Pezzella 70 (F)
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