Serie A Team of the Round – Atalanta

Atalanta gave up two goals, but still had by far the most dominant performance of the weekend, thus taking home the shout-out.

They did not play last week and, before that, they had triumphed in two of the past three tilt, against Torino and Fiorentina, and tied with Genoa

Gian Piero Gasperini had to come up with a makeshift back-line with Rafael Toloi and Berat Djimsiti both on the shelf and opted to deploy Marten De Roon there, with Mario Pasalic taking his spot in the midfield and the standard configuration on offense.

The Goddess came out guns blazing and the match looked like an easy squash as they found the target twice in the first 21 minutes, both on corner kicks. Giulio Donati mistimed his jump and the ball changed directory mid-air due to the wind and he ended up goofily beating his own goalie. Then Duvan Zapata muscled his way through defenders for a successful point-blank header.

However, Riccardo Saponara cut the lead almost exactly at the 30-minute mark, gathering the ball outside the box on the left-hand portion of the pitch on a long feed by Deiola and put it right in the top corner with a marvellous curled shot for his first goal in more than a year. The Giallorossi kept pressing the issue and equalized the match five minutes before the break, as Saponara perfectly set up the trailing Donati on a secondary counter and the right back knocked it past Pierluigi Gollini with a perfect crossing daisy-cutter.

The Bergamaschi got a grip during intermission and the rout was back on, leaving the opponents no room to answer. Josip Ilicic hit the net two minutes into the second half by pouncing on a rebound, duping the goalie and two other defenders with a sly first touch and tucking it in the empty net.

Zapata made it 4-2 at the 54th minute, tapping it home from inside the six-yard box after Mario Pasalic, who previously missed a pair of sitters, escaped down the right flank and sent in a juicy square ball. The Colombian tank complete his hat-trick with another chippie, this time with a stretching to deflect a little ball over the top by Ilicic.

Ruslan Malinovskyi and Luis Muriel subbed in for Alejandro Gomez and Ilicic and both managed to find the target to to round up the score. Muriel beat the offside trap on a through ball, got his first attempt rejected but then nudged it through, then the Ukrainian attacker put Gabriel out of his misery with a precise lefty strike mid-range for the final 7-2 score, which allowed the Nerazzurri to keep Roma at bay. They hanged seven goals on the adversaries for the third time in the campaign.

Duvan Zapata paced the fantasy haul stemming from the game with his 14 points, then Ilicic racked up eight, Malinovskyi and Muriel four for the Orobici, while, for the Salentini, Saponara accumulated five for scoring, setting up a teammate but also getting a yellow card.

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