Serie A Team of the Round – Atalanta

Two perfect results in this round, by Atalanta and Lazio: as far as the opponents are concerned, Udinese are a slightly better team than Brescia, but the Goddess did the deed on the road and thus earns the shout-out.

The Orobici had not won in four straight fixtures and were burned by Juventus at home last week despite outplaying the enemy in the first hour. Gian Piero Gasperini fielded his best available trident, with Alejandro Gomez supporting Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel, gave a maintenance day to Remo Freuler as Mario Pasalic relieved him in the midfield, while Timothy Castagne was picked over Hans Hateboer on the right flank. Berat Djimsiti and Andrea Masiello joined Josè-Luis Palomino in the back due to some absences.

The Nerazzurri quickly proved that they were no match for the wheezing Rondinelle, even though the opponents tried to shore up the defence by deploying a 3-5-2. The road team began to churn out chances right away and, after a pair of saves by Jesse Joronen, they found the target at the 26th minute, as Castagne was given too much room to cross on the right flank and found Pasalic all alone on the far post after a back-door cut and the midfielder easily headed it home from two meters out.

Before the end of the first half, Robin Gosens and Pasalic again almost hit the net with high-arching headers, with the ex-Chelsea man hitting the post after lofting it over the goalie. Ilicic tried his luck twice with wicked lefty shots from outside the box, but Joronen stopped the first home and the second was wide.

The Biancoblù finally reacted after the break, but Pierluigi Gollini easily cradled an effort from inside the box by Andrea Cistana and a long-range free kick by Mario Balotelli. The embattled striker then rattled the crossbar on a clear-cut attempt and that was basically curtains for Brescia, because few minutes later Pasalic completed his brace by knocking it on goal with a back-heel flick on a Ilicic square ball from the base line.

Gollini saved another shot by Balotelli with a strong dive, then Ruslan Malinovskyi smashed the post with a potent right-footed strike. In the stoppage time, Ilicic capped off his brilliant day by stripping Jhon Chancellor, who was the last bulwark, darting towards the box and finishing with aplomb in front of the goalie.

The Bergamaschi, who are in sixth position, gained some ground on Napoli, stopped their slide and assembled as glorious fantasy haul. Mario Pasalic led the way with ten points, then Ilicic amassed eight, Gollini seven thanks to the clean sheet and Castagne six because of the assist. The rest of the defenders conquered five and the midfielders two for shutting down the opponents, but Djimsiti and Malinovskyi lost one due to a yellow card.

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