Vito Doria Date: 25th June 2021 at 4:27pm
Written by:

The first phase of the Campionato Primavera 1 play-offs commenced on Tuesday evening with Atalanta earning a victory against Roma while Empoli emerged victorious against Juventus the night after.

La Dea eliminated I Giallorossi after securing a 2-1 win at the Stadio Enzo Ricci in Sassuolo thanks to the heroics of their captain and star player Alessandro Cortinovis.

Atalanta started the match brightly and they opened the lead after four minutes when Cortinovis played a one-two with Emmanuel Gyabuaa slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Both teams went in search for more goals but no more goals came in the first half. The trend continued early in the second half but then Roma equalised in the 68th minute thanks to a volley from midfielder Nicola Zalewski.

Either side could have won it soon after but Atalanta striker Jonathan Italeng and Roma winger Suf Podgoreanu were not able to put away their chances for their respective teams.

Cortinovis emerged as the hero for La Dea two minutes from time when Anwar Mediero laid the ball off to the attacking midfielder, then he launched a shot from outside of the box with his right foot, and the ball dipped as it went into the net.

On Wednesday evening, Empoli also earned a 2-1 victory by defeating Juventus. Both sides had opportunities in the opening minutes before it started to become cagey for some time.

In the 23rd minute, Bianconeri goalkeeper Giovanni Garofani saved a header from Azzurri defender Antonino Fradella, but Emmanuel Ekong tapped in the rebound to give the Tuscans the lead.

It was a short-lived lead for Empoli as Juventus equalised just a minute later thanks to a right-foot shot from defender Gabriele Mulazzi. Both sides had their opportunities to take the lead before half-time, with La Vecchia Signora creating the better chances, but they could not add to their tally.

Kristjan Asllani could have regained the lead for Gli Azzurri two minutes into the second half but his shot hit the crossbar. Kleis Bozhanaj scored the decisive goal for the Tuscans in the 67th minute, immediately after coming onto the pitch for Mirco Lipari and he found the back of the net after receiving the ball from captain Francesco Donati.

Juventus had enough chances to equalise but they could not beat Klemen Hvalic in the Empoli goal while Bozhanaj came close to scoring his second and Empoli’s third goal three minutes from time but he too could not add to the scoreline.

Atalanta will face Sampdoria on Saturday evening in the first semi-final while Empoli will play against Inter on the following night.