Danish striker Andreas Cornelius came off the bench to give Atalanta a slender victory over Bologna.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side was flying high in Europe and fresh from a 3-1 victory over Apollon Limassol on Thursday, but for the first time this season didn’t even have Papu Gomez on the bench due to a muscular issue. Bryan Cristante took the trequartista role behind Andrea Petagna and Josip Ilicic. The visitors had to do without Saphir Taider, Ibrahima Mbaye and Domenico Maietta.
Atalanta had won five of their last six meetings with Bologna, including three on the bounce, home and away in all competition. The last time the Rossoblu won in Bergamo was 1-0 in January 2009, followed by two points from six visits.
Mattia Caldara brought down Rodrigo Palacio right on the edge of the box, but the free kick from Simone Verdi struck the defensive wall.
Bologna lost Vasilis Torosidis to a muscular problem, bringing on Emil Krafth just 25 minutes into the game.
Ilicic curled a free kick over the bar and Andrea Petagna couldn’t keep his finish down on a Cristante cross. In first half stoppages, Verdi sprung the offside trap to get behind defenders, but then rolled it across rather than going for goal himself when clear.
Leonardo Spinazzola wasted a glorious opportunity after the restart, as he was totally unmarked at the back post on a Maarten De Roon cross only to steer the volley over from point-blank range.
Ilicic also went on a mazy run and his left-foot curler was just off target, while Adam Masina flung himself in the path of substitute Andreas Cornelius’ shot after a Petagna chipped pass.
The deadlock was finally broken when Remo Freuler threaded through for Cornelius, who spun round to blast home at the near post from 10 yards.
Verdi came close to an equaliser, his curler skimming the near top corner, but Bologna went down to 10 men as Giancarlo Gonzalez brought down Cornelius with a shirt-tug so clear it looked more like a rugby tackle.
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Sent off: Gonzalez 80 (B)