Catania got the better of Atalanta thanks to an Alejandro Gomez wonder strike and late Felipe Seymour effort, while their Serie A debutant goalkeeper impressed.
This is a battle between two of the revelations of the current campaign and, were it not for a six-point penalty, the Orobici would be ahead of the Elefantini. Juan Pablo Carrizo was suspended, so 22-year-old Pietro Terracciano was given his Serie A debut to take over between the posts. Sergio Almiron, Mariano Izco, Pablo Barrientos and Alessandro Potenza were also unavailable. Atalanta had German Denis on a ban, while Matteo Brighi, Guido Marilungo and Daniele Capelli were sidelined.
The minute’s silence before kick-off was particularly moving, as Piermario Morosini grew up in the Atalanta youth system and his hometown was Bergamo. Catania full-back Marco Motta was also deeply touched, as he was good friends with the midfielder who died during the Pescara-Livorno match last week.
The Sicilians had an aggressive start and Alejandro Gomez rolled across the box where Gonzalo Bergessio was intercepted for a corner. From that set play, Giuseppe Bellusci only skimmed a header wide.
Bergessio and Davide Lanzafame failed to complete the give-and-go, as Andrea Consigli smothered at their feet.
Catania’s pressure paid off with Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez coming out with a sensational strike. He was a good 25 metres away when he spotted the goalkeeper off his line and unleashed a rocket that dipped mercilessly into the far top corner.
Manolo Gabbiadini’s first touch let him down from a long Carlos Carmona pass, then Stefano Lucchini’s crucial deflection turned a Bergessio effort just wide of the far post following a good team move from Seymour and Francesco Lodi.
Maxi Moralez threatened for the visitors, but tried to dribble through the entire Catania defence and the chance went begging.
It was almost 2-0 just before half-time, as Nicola Legrottaglie got a glancing header to Lodi’s free kick, thumping the base of the back post.
A promising Catania counter-attack was wasted by Bergessio’s heavy touch in trying to set up Lodi, while Bergessio later fired straight at Consigli.
Atalanta also went extremely close, as Moralez’s cross from the right took a deflection and found Manolo Gabbiadini at full stretch at the back post, but Serie A debutant Terracciano performed a splendid reaction save to deny him from close range.
Ezequiel Schelotto was substituted and seemed extremely irritated, kicking a bottle on the touchline when walking past Coach Stefano Colantuono.
A decisive Lucchini sliding tackle prevented Bergessio and Bellusci completing their give-and-go just inside the box. Another well-worked team move saw Gomez thread through for Consigli to intercept at full stretch before Bergessio could tap in at the back post.
Consigli performed a great reaction save to stop Bergessio tapping in a Lodi free kick, but the Catania striker had been flagged offside. Bergessio’s angled drive was wide of the far post after he turned Guglielmo Stendardo on the edge of the box.
Terracciano did well to block a Simone Bonaventura snapshot and Catania doubled their lead in chaotic circumstances.
Consigli thought play had halted when he dropped the ball going shoulder-to-shoulder with Bergessio (possibly with the aid of an arm), but it continued and the goalkeeper beat away an Andrea Catellani follow-up, but could do nothing when Felipe Seymour volleyed into an open goal from five yards.