Serie A Match of the Round – Atalanta vs Verona

In a round that featured Inter-Roma and Lazio-Juventus, the most entertaining match naturally ended up being Atalanta-Verona, but few were in the running since the weekend was jam-packed of action and goals.

The Goddess came into the game having snapped an unsatisfactory four-game stretch with a drubbing of Brescia last week, while Verona, which are in the midst of an intricate part of the schedule, had lost to Inter and Roma and won versus Fiorentina in the past three fixtures.

Gian Piero Gasperini did not rotate the squad all that much despite the upcoming seminal Champions League bout: Timothy Castagne and Mario Pasalic were picked over the banged-up Robin Gosens and Marten De Roon in the midfield, but he arrayed his best available trident, featuring Alejandro Gomez, Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel. The Scaligeri deployed Salvatore Bocchetti and Pawel Dawidowicz to make up for the absences of Marash Kumbulla and Koray Gunter in the back and Matteo Pessina in the hole over Valerio Verre for a more conservative posture.

The home team could have gotten the lead in the first twenty minutes, as Muriel shook free past the back-line on long-ball twice, but frittered away two one-on-one opportunities, shooting too weakly in the first one and sending the second one wide.

It was instead the Gialloblù that shattered the standstill at the 23rd minute, as Marco Davide Faraoni wrong-footed the defence with a quick, and probably out of position, throw-in, found an unabated Samuel Di Carmine in the box and the striker punched it home, with Pierluigi Gollini going to the ground a little too slowly and letting the ball pass underneath his hip.

The Orobici then lost Ilicic to a thigh injury and Ruslan Malinovskyi subbed on and he made it one-all right before half time with a rocket lefty strike right in the top corner from the edge of the box for his first Serie A goal.

However, the opportunistic Mastini got the lead back 12 minutes into the second half, as Mattia Zaccagni and Darko Lazovic combined on a counter and the winger set up Di Carmine again, who bagged it with a slide beating the goalie to the punch.

It did not last long because Zaccagni collided with Castagne on a cross and the referee awarded the penalty, which Muriel drilled, ending his domestic drought. The Bergamaschi laid siege and Dawidowicz was the first victim, as he received the second yellow card for a foul on Musa Barrow.

Gomez had two chances in the stoppage time, one from deep in the box but from angled position, the other from distance, but Marco Silvestri batted the ball away in both occasions. It took an extra effort for the home team to get the W and their centre-backs provided it in the final push: José-Luis Palomino found Rafael Toloi in the box, the Brazilian defender flicked it over an opponent to Berat Djimsiti, who volleyed it home from point-blank range, becoming the 12th different Atalanta player to score this season.

The Goddess solidified their sixth position, as they have a comfortable cushion over Napoli, Parma, Torino and Milan, and got closer to Cagliari and Roma, which drew in this round, so they are just one point away from the Champions League zone. Verona remain pretty cozily 11th as they are seven points above the red area.

Fantasy-wise, Di Carmine collected eight bonus points, Malinovskyi and Muriel rewarded the owners that selected them with four, Djimsiti three, Lazovic and Faraoni earned two for their assists, while Toloi just one because they allowed multiple goals.

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