Atalanta’s club record run of six consecutive victories came to a shock halt, as relegation battlers Sassuolo won in Bergamo.
On paper this was a slam dunk for the hosts, who had won a club record six in a row and were facing a Sassuolo side scrambling to avoid relegation. Guglielmo Stenfardo was suspended with Maxi Moralez, Davide Brivio and Riccardo Cazzola sidelined, but Sassuolo’s absentee list included Lorenzo Ariaudo, Matteo Brighi, Thomas Manfredini, Luca Marrone and Paolo Bianco.
However, the last time these sides met it was Sassuolo who emerged 2-0 winners on home turf. Gianluca Pegolo needed a desperate double save early on to deny a Marcelo Estigarribia snapshot and Giuseppe De Luca on the rebound.
Jack Bonaventura somehow didn’t score, as he burst down the left and his pull-back ricocheted around the six-yard box without going in.
Pegolo was at full stretch to beat away another De Luca strike and Andrea Consigli got his fists to a Simone Missiroli cross-shot at the near stick.
Sassuolo wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead, as Domenico Berardi turned a free header off target from close range on Longhi’s cross.
It proved a warning sign that Atalanta did not heed, as Sassuolo did go in front soon after. They failed to clear a corner effectively, so Nicola Sansone burst down the right and flashed his angled drive across Consigli into the far bottom corner.
Berardi threatened to make it 2-0, but Consigli got his long-range shot under control, then Mario Yepes took one for the team with a booking to stop Simone Zaza going clear on goal.
Atalanta gave the Serie A debut to Uruguayan ex-PSV Eindhoven talent Ruben Betancourt, but Sassuolo doubled their shock lead in Bergamo.
Sansone added a second to his tally, as his free kick from the left side of the field appeared to flash past everyone directly into the far side of the net. Zaza went in for the header, but didn’t make contact and that probably confused the goalkeeper.
Consigli did very well to keep the scoreline down when smothering at the feet of substitute Chibsah. In stoppages, Betancourt got a header to a flicked on pass, but forced a splendid save out of Pegolo.
There were concerns in the final minutes when goalscorer Sansone seemed to crumple to the ground after a corner, perhaps due to a knock to the head, and required treatment.