Atalanta thrashed Sampdoria 3-0 with German Denis, Carlos Carmona and Giacomo Bonaventura goals.
These two teams were relatively comfortable in mid-table and fresh from impressive victories, as the Blucerchiati fought back from 2-0 down to beat Livorno 4-2 and the Orobici conquered Lazio in Rome. Davide Brivio, Riccardo Cazzola and Kone missed out for the hosts. Alessio Sestu was sidelined for Samp, but Angelo Palombo was able to start despite flu symptoms.
Curiously, neither side had played a 0-0 this season and they were locked together on 34 points.
A dangerous ball flashed across the six-yard box with Stefano Okaka just unable to get the final touch, then Maxi Moralez’s shot was charged down by Shkodran Mustafi in the box.
Eder’s pass for the unmarked Okaka was cut out at the last second and as the move continued Manolo Gabbiadini turned over the bar against his former club.
There was another decisive Mustafi block as German Denis was pulling the trigger on the edge of the penalty area. Denis was given space from a corner, but turned his header over the bar.
Andrea Consigli needed a spectacular double save on the half-hour mark. He beat away a glancing Roberto Soriano header from Lorenzo De Silvestri’s cross, then got back up to palm the fierce Vasco Regini follow-up out from under the bar.
De Silvestri got away with a fresh-air clearance in the box with Maxi Moralez lurking behind him.
Atalanta did break the deadlock after a well-worked move, as Denis flicked it on for Carlos Carmona to volley at full stretch from the edge of the box, sending it into the bottom corner.
The hosts doubled their advantage just before the break, as a Luca Cigarini corner was floated in for the totally unmarked Bonaventura at the back post. He was in acres of space because replays showed Yohan Belanouane punched Regini in the ribs and video evidence will likely be used with a three-match ban looming.
Sampdoria fought back from 2-0 down at half-time to win 4-2 last week, so this game certainly could not be considered done and dusted. Daniele Gastaldello went off injured at the break and Gabbiadini’s shot was charged down as he turned in the box.
However, the Blucerchiati shot themselves in the foot with some terrible defending. Nenad Krsticic slipped and his fresh-air clearance sent Denis clear on goal to beat Junior Da Costa one-on-one.
It was almost a brace for El Tanque, who spun round from eight yards to smash his shot against the far post.
Gabbiadini’s effort from the edge of the box skimmed the woodwork and in the final minutes Angelo Palombo forced a save out of Consigli, but Atalanta had a standing ovation for Gianpaolo Bellini’s comeback after tendon damage in late November.
In stoppages Da Costa was also called into action to deny Giuseppe De Luca’s angled drive.