It wasn't the easiest of victories, but Juventus got over the line and defeated Atalanta 3-2 to secure qualification to the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.
Juventus controlled the match and attacked with intelligence from the start to demonstrate superiority, but as soon as they scored the second goal of the night, they began to drop their concentration levels.
Atalanta were invited back into their game and continued to try different schemes in order to exploit any potential gaps or mistakes. Never surrendering, they pushed and fought and came close to equalising, but in the end, Juventus held firm and qualified for the next stage of the competition.
Tomas Rincon played a good game for his first start in the Bianconeri colours, but perhaps the greatest positive Juve can take out of this game is the return of Paulo Dybala. The player is truly an exceptional talent and now that he finds himself in good condition, he impact is starting to be felt once again. Capable of perfect finishes, excellent movement and wonderful assists, he is a delight to watch as he weaves his way through defences, initiating attack after attack.
While it's been entertaining to watch Juventus start matches with such attacking verve, the manner in which they drop their concentration after scoring goals is concerning. Once again, they felt their job was done early on and allowed Atalanta's youthful, exuberant side to continuously attack and even score, running too many risks. Juventus should learn how to control a game and ensure that even after the goals are scored, they defend as a unit with grit and desire to secure victories and easy endings to matches, especially when playing at home.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Massimiliano Allegri is usually known for making the right substitutions, but on this occasion he did not. Taking off Claudio Marchisio and replacing him with Stefano Sturaro effectively robbed Juve's midfield of control and balance. Rincon, Hernanes and Sturaro are not who Juve need to play together to provide stability.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Norberto Neto, 6 -- Should have done better on the near post for Atalanta's second goal and his clearances weren't always the best. Can produce perfection, like on Andrea Petagna's shot, but also guilty of several more errors than Gianluigi Buffon would have committed.
DF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 6 -- Played with his heart, doing all he could to command the right lane. Won the penalty but was also at fault for Atalanta's second goal.
DF Andrea Barzagli, 6 -- Always has been and always will be a pillar of strength and intelligence at the back. Controls the defence perfectly.
DF Daniele Rugani, 6 -- Measured, attentive to his duties and composed. Not the easiest of nights but handled himself well.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, 5 -- Really struggled towards the end and not one who copes well under pressure. Perhaps he still needs time to get back to his previous levels.
MF Tomas Rincon 6 -- A great debut from the new arrival who was close to scoring a goal and demonstrated how well he's taken to Juve's style of play.
MF Hernanes, 5 -- Barely noticeable, Hernanes does his job adequately but guilty of too many inaccuracies. Suffered greatly in the second half.
MF Claudio Marchisio, 7 -- Brings balance, intelligence and control to the game. His every manoeuvre was well-executed. His departure left the team in disarray.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 -- His vision knows no bounds and he converted the penalty coolly to make it 3-1, but not one to provide brilliance for the entirety of the match.
FW Paulo Dybala, 8 -- Scored a beautiful left-footed volley to open the scoring. Exuding confidence, Dybala moved with grace, demonstrated power and provided the assist for Mario Mandzukic's goal. Man of the match.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 7 -- He's not always the most refined of players, but he scored the goal and worked tirelessly in an attempt to ease the pressure off the defence towards the end of the game. Team player.
MF Stefano Sturaro, 6 -- Always gritty, always willing to fight for every ball but his arrival on the pitch resulted in the loss of midfield balance. Not his fault but he must play alongside more tactically intelligent and refined players to excel.
FW Marko Pjaca, 6 -- Finally back from injury, the player accelerated well and showed his strength on the ball. Not yet at his optimum physical level.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, N/A -- Came on to help provide security at the back.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.