Serie A Team of the Round – Atalanta

The round featured three convincing shut-out wins and strong displays by Verona and Parma against Lecce and Udinese, but obviously the shut-out goes to Atalanta, which had the best performance by any team this season in their 7-0 romp of Torino.

The Orobici were looking to atone from a surprising home loss against SPAL, while they had drawn against Inter the match the week before. Gian Piero Gasperini selected Berat Djimsiti over Mattia Caldara in the back, Hans Hateboer on the right since Timothy Castagne is out with an injury and their standard trident led by Duvan Zapata.

The Goddess opened the scoring at the 17th minute: José Palomino pressed Diego Laxalt on the base line, intercepted his clearance with a slide and quickly sent in back towards the middle and Josip Ilicic tucked it home on the far post. Robin Gosens and Remo Freuler were both denied by Salvatore Sirigu on clear-cut chances, but the Dutch wing-back got his goal at the 29th minute with a stunning volley from just outside the box following a corner kick. Ilicic won a penalty at the end of the first half due to a tug as he was gliding through defenders and Zapata successfully converted it, returning to the box score after months.

The Granata showed some pride after the break but Pierluigi Gollini saved on a pair of good attempts. Ilicic definitely sealed the game at the 53rd minute in cunning fashion: the referee whistled a handball near midfield on a long pass, the attacker noticed that Salvatore Sirigu was not between the sticks and vigorously lofted the ball over him. The Slovenian international was not done because one minute later Alejandro Gomez found him in the box for an easy finish. Papu instead got rejected by a brilliant save by the goalie.

Armando Izzo was sent off after picking up his second yellow card, then Soualiho Meite committed a silly penalty foul on Rafael Toloi turning the ball over and Luis Muriel, who had just subbed in, converted. The Colombian striker assembled a brace with a lethal cross-shot at the 88th minute on another Gomez feed. The final lowlight for the home team was Sasa Lukic getting a straight red card for a retaliation foul.

The Goddess put together a glorious fantasy loot: Ilicic paced everybody with 16 points, followed by Muriel with eight, Palomino and Gollini with seven. Gosens and Gomez both corralled six, few defenders five and the rest of the midfielders two for the clean sheet, Zapata four for scoring.

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