Verona completed a late comeback to beat Atalanta 2-1 despite wasting numerous chances.
Verona’s sensational start to the season was disappearing fast with three consecutive defeats and a midweek 4-1 Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Sampdoria. Bosko Jankovic and Fabrizio Cacciatore sat out bans with the injured Simone Laner and Bianchetti. Atalanta had a crisis of their own, missing Gianpaolo Bellini, Cristiano Del Grosso, Maxi Moralez, Cristian Raimondi, Mario Yepes and the suspended Luca Cigarini.
The last time this fixture was played in Serie A was in 2001-02, the hosts emerging with a 2-1 victory.
Riccardo Cazzola bravely charged down a Luca Toni strike and was left winded by the experience, while Juan Iturbe turned a free header wide.
Andrea Consigli’s palms were stung by a Raphael Martinho snapshot at the near top corner, while Rafael got a hand to the German Denis angled drive.
The Verona goalkeeper also beat away a Daniele Baselli free kick from distance that was dipping viciously towards the near bottom corner.
Romulo pulled back from the by-line for Toni, but a crucial Michele Canini sliding tackle blocked the finish.
Atalanta took the lead with a sensational solo effort from El Tanque Denis. He gathered on the counter-attack just past the centre circle, dribbled past a defender and delightfully lobbed the goalkeeper.
Verona somehow failed to equalise when Consigli kept the ball in play at the by-line and Toni put it back into the centre, but the Iturbe header was into the ground and bounced over literally an open goal.
Moments later Rafael was at full stretch to fingertip away a Denis angled drive after another Alejandro Gonzalez error.
Toni’s header looped on to the underside of the crossbar from Alessandro Agostini’s assist and Consigli fingertipped away a Gomez Taleb strike.
Daniele Cacia incredible failed to score when Toni knocked down a cross for him, but he only found the feet of goalkeeper Consigli.
The siege eventually paid off when Romulo curled a corner into the six-yard box for Juanito Gomez Taleb to shake off Canini and score with a powerful header.
They were still terribly unbalanced and Atalanta almost took advantage, as Marko Livaja hit the side-netting on the counter-attack.
However, the referee awarded a penalty and a straight red card when Cazzola was caught napping on a ball over the top and hauled down Cacia. Jorginho stepped up and maintained his 100 per cent record this season from the spot to turn the game around completely.
Sent off: Cazzola 85 (A)