Atalanta had a rough start to this game, but soon steamrollered Cesena 4-1 with Guido Marilungo’s brace.
It has been an awful week for Atalanta, who were already docked six points this season over a betting scandal. Captain Cristiano Doni, who is suspended until February 2015, was arrested amid allegations of further illegal betting around the club. The fans held up a banner before kick-off assuring “we are with you all the way.”
On the field, Daniele Capelli, Simone Tiribocchi and Matteo Brighi were unavailable, but Ferreira Pinto made his comeback from a long injury lay-off. Cesena had Gianluca Comotto banned with Jorge Martinez, Giuseppe Colucci, Raphael Martinho and Ricci out of action.
Cesena took a shock lead at the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia thanks to a moment of magic from Antonio Candreva. Adrian Mutu went on the counter and threaded through for Candreva, who unleashed a blockbuster from distance that flew past a helpless Andrea Consigli.
Rodriguez went through the back of Guido Marilungo for a penalty. German Denis stepped up and converted powerfully, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way for Atalanta’s equaliser.
Moments later they turned the game around. A long pass was not cleared effectively and the cross back in found Under-21 international Marilungo to finish off the move.
Mutu had the chance to put Cesena back on level terms, but failed to find the net from close range on Abdel Ghezzal’s cross.
In the final minute of the first half Atalanta extended their advantage, as Denis threaded through for Federico Peluso to spring the offside trap and roll across, as Marilungo blasted under the bar from close range.
Atalanta gave themselves a three-goal cushion as Peluso went down the left flank, cut in past two different defenders to feint a cross, but eventually fired low past a stunned Francesco Antonioli.