Atalanta set a new club record with their sixth consecutive Serie A victory, but Bologna are plunged into crisis.
The Orobici were coming off five straight wins and a surprise push for Europa League qualification, while the hosts were just two points clear of the relegation zone and fresh from a 3-0 hammering by Chievo midweek. Archimede Morleo, Panagiotis Kone and Francesco Della Rocca missed out for Bologna, while Yohan Benalouane was suspended with Maxi Moralez, Davide Brivio and Riccardo Cazzola injured.
Guglielmo Stendardo was booked within three minutes for taking down Rene Krhin, so he’ll be suspended against Sassuolo. From that resulting free kick, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos aimed a free kick straight at Andrea Consigli.
German Denis sprung the offside trap on a Giacomo Bonaventura assist, but Gianluca Curci was alert and rushed out to close him down.
Atalanta took the lead when Giuseppe De Luca robbed Diego Perez in midfield and burst forward to place his shot into the far bottom corner from just inside the box. It was his second goal in as many games.
The visitors doubled their advantage with a screamer from Marcelo Estigarribia, who unleashed a sudden snapshot from outside the area that flew into the far top corner where Gianluca Curci could not reach.
Bologna almost pulled one back immediately, but Consigli beat away a long-range Christodoulopoulos effort and did brilliantly to turn Jose Crespo’s follow-up wide from six yards.
Consigli was again decisive with his palms stung by a Krhin diving header from eight yards, then moments later a Davide Moscardelli glancing header after the offside trap failed.
Atalanta went on the counter and Bonaventura could only find the side-netting after Curci fingertipped away an Estigarribia ball across the six-yard box.
In first half stoppages a corner was flicked on by Krhin for Roberto Acquafresca, who at full stretch volleyed to test Consigli from point-blank range.
Davide Ballardini’s job was under pressure, so he made two substitutions at half-time. They poured forward with Ibson’s shot charged down and a Moscardelli angled drive deflected wide. Consigli also dealt with a Jonathan Cristaldo header from a corner.
Marko Livaja, who has had numerous problems at Atalanta including being frozen out for punching one of his teammates, was booked for stamping on the foot of Bologna goalkeeper Curci after being anticipated to a cross. A few minutes later he was fortunate to escape a second yellow for an elbow in the face on Gyorgy Garics.
Consigli seemed surprised by the awkward bounce on a Moscardelli effort from distance and only parried it a short way, but Stendardo rushed to scramble clear.
Cristaldo then had a long-range shot that swerved viciously in the air to skim the upright, as Bologna continued to dominate this second half without making any of it count.
President Albano Guaraldi was in the stands, but left his seat with more than 10 minutes to spare, fuelling rumours of a potential sacking for Ballardini. Many of the Bologna fans had already walked away some time earlier.