SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 7 - 1 Oct 2017 (19.45 UK)
Atalanta 2 - 2 Juventus
Bernardeschi 21 (J), Higuain 24 (J), Gomez 31 (A), Cristante 67 (A)
Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia

Atalanta fought back from 2-0 down to end the 100 per cent Juventus record and Paulo Dybala saw a late penalty saved in the 2-2 thriller.

The Bianconeri needed a victory to keep up with Napoli’s perfect record, but visited Bergamo without Miralem Pjanic, Claudio Marchisio, Sami Khedira, Marko Pjaca, Benedikt Howedes and Mattia De Sciglio, so Federico Bernardeschi got his first start in a Juve jersey. The Orobici missed Rafael Toloi and opted for Andreas Cornelius in attack.

Last season’s draw ended a remarkable run of 14 consecutive Atalanta defeats against Juve, home and away in all competition. The last Serie A victory over the Bianconeri was 2-1 in Bergamo in February 2001, followed by three stalemates and 22 defeats.

Bernardeschi’s angled drive was straight at Etrit Berisha after three minutes, then Mario Mandzukic knocked down a cross for Gonzalo Higuain, but the half-volley was too weak to surprise Etrit Berisha.

The Albanian goalkeeper was at fault for the opening goal, as he only meekly beat away a Blaise Matuidi effort from outside the D and Bernardeschi pounced on the rebound.

Moments later, Bernardeschi’s through ball released Higuain, who held off his marker to blast into the near top corner from six yards. Pipita broke his goal drought midweek in the Champions League with Olympiakos and ran over to the bench to hug Andrea Barzagli.

Papu Gomez got Atalanta back into it after 25 minutes of absolute dominance. His free kick stung Gigi Buffon’s gloves and Mattia Caldara – owned by Juventus – turned in the rebound.

Suddenly, the hosts had woken up and Coach Gian Piero Gasperini made a tactical change, hauling off Andreas Cornelius for Josip Ilicic, moving Gomez to a False 9.

It should’ve been 2-2 on 34 minutes when Stephan Lichtsteiner lost sight of Jasmin Kurtic on an Ilicic cross, but the header downwards bounced over at the far post.

Suddenly, it was Juventus being pegged back into their own half for long periods leading up to half-time.

Higuain blasted over after combining with Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur. Mandzukic thought he’d made it 3-1 on 57 minutes when he nodded in a Dybala cross at the back post, but the goal was correctly disallowed because Stephan Lichtsteiner elbowed Gomez in the build-up.

The pair continued to argue, Gomez booked for an elbow in the ribs and Max Allegri wisely hooked Lichtsteiner before the Swiss Express and his notoriously short fuse lit.

Atalanta completed the comeback from 0-2 to 2-2 when Papu whipped in a cross from the left for Bryan Cristante’s towering header from six yards.

The Bergamo boys were not sated and wanted to go on for the victory, Remo Freuler blasting over, then a Leonardo Spinazzola cross surpassing both Buffon and Andrea Petagna.

Buffon smothered a Hans Hateboer low cross before it could reach Petagna from six yards, but when Dybala’s free kick was charged down by Petagna in the wall, the referee awarded a penalty. It was open to interpretation, because while Petagna did move his arm up towards the ball, it actually hit his shoulder. The referee viewed it on VAR and confirmed his decision, but Berisha made up for the earlier error by parrying the Dybala spot-kick.

The match remained wide open to the final whistle in a buzzing atmosphere at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.


Atalanta: Berisha; Masiello, Caldara, Palomino; Hateboer, Cristante (De Roon 87), Freuler, Spinazzola; Gomez, Cornelius (Ilicic 32), Kurtic (Petagna 56)
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner (Barzagli 66), Benatia, Chiellini, Asamoah; Bentancur, Matuidi; Bernardeschi (Cuadrado 69), Dybala, Mandzukic (Douglas Costa 77); Higuain
Ref: Damato

Saved penalty: Dybala 84 (J)