Cagliari scored two early goals for a shock 2-1 win at the Stadio Dall’Ara, although Atalanta dominated the match and were very wasteful.
The Orobici had been on a roll and fresh from their 2-0 victory over Milan at San Siro. Jose Luis Palomino was still carrying a knock, but otherwise Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were in great shape, considering their Europa League commitments. On the other hand, Cagliari were struggling and saw Joao Pedro handed a four-match ban for stamping on an opponent. Daniele Dessena was also injured, but influential Luca Cigarini returned from suspension.
The last Cagliari win over Atalanta at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia was back in October 1991, followed by four draws and 13 defeats in all competition.
The Sardinians had a very aggressive start and on their second corner, Luca Cigarini found Leonardo Pavoletti for a free header to break the deadlock.
Atalanta fought back, Josip Ilicic not making the most of a Papu Gomez cross to the far post, then the Argentine dribbling past three defenders only to fire wide.
The hosts were doing all the attacking, but were caught out for a second goal on the counter by Diego Farias’ slide-rule pass for Simone Padoin. It was a surprise goal for the former Atalanta player.
Gomez set up Marten De Roon, his shot charged down by desperate Marco Andreolli defending, yet Cagliari almost had a third on the stroke of half-time, Farias just unable to get on the end of the latest counter while Pierluigi Gollini came tearing off his line.
Straight after the restart, Mancini had a fantastic opportunity for Atalanta, but his sweeping volley off the inside of the boot smacked against the crossbar from a Gomez corner.
Pavoletti had the ball in the net again, but was flagged offside, then Ilicic skimmed the upright after turning Fabio Pisacane inside out and Gomez saw his solo effort palmed away by Rafael.
Ilicic had another shot parried by Rafael, but Bryan Cristante incredibly missed the rebound. Atalanta did finally get their goal in stoppages, Rafael Toloi’s chipped pass finding Gomez to slide in at the far post.
There was still time for Senna Miangue to get himself sent off for a second bookable offence, a very high foot on Riccardo Orsolini, but Cagliari held on.
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Sent off: Miangue 95 (C)