Vincenzo Italiano and Fiorentina exit the Coppa Italia semi-final to Atalanta with ‘big regrets’ over the red card and wasted first leg opportunities.

The Viola will not play a second consecutive Coppa Italia Final, despite leading 1-0 from the first leg, as they were eventually eliminated 4-2 on aggregate in Bergamo.

Teun Koopmeiners had scored immediately to level it and Nikola Milenkovic saw red for stopping a clear scoring opportunity, but 10-man Fiorentina still got back into it with a Lucas Martinez Quarta free header on a Cristiano Biraghi set play and Gianluca Scamacca scored a stunning volley.

Just as extra time looked imminent, La Dea struck twice in stoppages with Ademola Lookman and Mario Pasalic to seal their passage to the Final against Juventus on May 15.

“Inevitably, the red card is the big regret. It’s tough when down to 10 men, you see it changes everything. That was our first red card of the season and we had successfully avoided that for a year,” Italiano told Sport Mediaset.

“We managed to defend in an organised fashion and contain Atalanta, we even managed to score a goal, but down to 10 it’s tough. We lose, but I think until the goal for 3-1 we defended really well and frankly that’s not something we always do.

“It’s a pity, we came here eager to cause problems for Atalanta and reach the Final. They got back on level terms with that Scamacca goal and then we no longer had the energy to react in stoppages. I won’t even talk about the fourth goal, as the game was over by then.”

Italiano still has hope for silverware

Italiano can still reach the Conference League Final, as the Viola will face Club Brugge next week.

“It is satisfying that we are in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia and Conference League for two years running. Naturally, we are upset and wanted to play another Final, but Atalanta did well to make the most of the extra man today.

“I think we could’ve had a bigger advantage in the first leg, but Marco Carnesecchi was extraordinary and kept the scoreline down, allowing them to win this tie.”

Fiorentina are known as an attack-minded team and the third goal scored by Lookman was on a counter-attack sparked by players pushing forward for the Michael Kayode long throw-in.

“We were looking at 30 minutes of extra time down to 10 men, so naturally we tried to win it in regular time and I think that was the right thing to do, as anything can happen when you pump the ball into the box.

“I think the game was decided ultimately by the red card. We had been very good in those situations this season to avoid dismissals, but on this occasion Niko was not sharp enough and went into the tackle.

“The only thing we could do was try to defend solidly and go on the counter-attack or score from set plays, which we did. We were about to do it too, until we conceded in stoppages.

“It’s disappointing, we all had the dream of returning to the Final after last season.”

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