A day removed from a scoreless Derby della Madonnina, the first leg of the 2022 Coppa Italia semifinal between Fiorentina and Juventus nearly gave us another similar result. Juventus needed a Fiorentina own goal in the final minute of the game to capture the win and with it an all-important away goal. That's right, the away-goal rule might be scrapped in most major cups, but it still lives in Coppa Italia.
Allegri's side weren't necessarily impressive on the night while the home team had chances with Giacomo Bonaventura, Riccardo Saponara and especially with Jonathan Ikonè, who missed an incredible opportunity after a 50-meter run. In the second half, Allegri tried to change something with Juan Cuadrado, but Fiorentina were the better side on the night, as Ikonè come real close to opening the scoring account for Fiorentina when his shot hits the post in the 48th minute.
The match seemed to be over until the first minute of stoppage time when Fiorentina defender Lorenzo Venuti's own goal handed Juventus the win on a night that featured Dušan Vlahović returning to Stadio Artemio Franchi for the first time since he sealed his transfer to Juve. Much like the Inter-Milan tie, there's still plenty at stake heading into the second leg on April 21 (Paramount+), even if Juventus are the clear favorites after Wednesday night.
Dusan Vlahović, Juventus
It was a night full of emotions for the former Fiorentina striker, who failed to score in his first game back in Florence. From the very beginning, regardless of the result on the pitch, everything at the Stadio Artemio Franchi was centered around Vlahović as Fiorentina fans "welcomed" their former idol with jeers and an entire choreography against him.
Fans quoted Florence-born poet Dante Alighieri in banners that read: "I no longer want you to speak evil traitor; in fact, I will bring truthful news about you to Earth, which will make you infamous." On the pitch, his game wasn't particularly exciting and he only actually had once chance to score, but he probably was a bit influenced by the hostile atmosphere that made Wednesday's match all about his return.
Jonathan Ikoné, Fiorentina
This was first true game where he showed his qualities since he joined Fiorentina in January. In the first half, he came close to scoring after a nice run but his attempt went out. He had another incredible chance at the beginning of the second half, but after he passed by Mattia De Sciglio and Luca Pellegrini, he hit the post. Overall, it was definitely a solid performance, but he showed again why his chief flaw of having difficulties scoring goals when needed is a problem.
Krzysztof Piątek, Fiorentina
It definitely was Vlahović's night as all the talk centered around his return, but he wasn't the only one that lost their scoring touch on the night. After scoring in previous Coppa Italia matches against Napoli and Fiorentina, the Polish striker -- a teammate of Vlahović for 20 days at Fiorentina -- failed to find the back of the net against Juventus. Even as Fiorentina had several chances to find the breakthrough, his performance was underwhelming. He's had a relatively positive start to his Viola career, especially because he has a lot of pressure now that Vlahović is gone, but he could not get it going in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal and he'll need to do better in the second leg away from home.