Atalanta were down to 10 men for the entire second half, but still held out for a shock 2-1 victory away to wasteful Roma.
The Giallorossi had lost their way of late with a series of stalemates, but dropped Radja Nainggolan after he uploaded video of his excessive New Year’s Eve partying to social media. He was sat in the stands between directors Monchi and Francesco Totti, as if to show it was a decision he fully accepted. Daniele De Rossi, Gregoire Defrel and Rick Karsdorp were also injured, so Maxime Gonalons stepped in. Atalanta were flying high after knocking Napoli out of the Coppa Italia Quarter-Finals this week.
Atalanta had won just one of the last 12 visits to the Olimpico between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, 2-0 in November 2015, along with two draws and nine losses.
Stephan El Shaarawy’s strike with his weaker left foot from the edge of the box was well beaten away by Etrit Berisha, but Atalanta took the lead after 14 minutes.
Andreas Cornelius burst down the right side of the box, cut inside and curled a left-foot finish around Federico Fazio into the far bottom corner from a tight angle.
Atalanta added a second with Papu Gomez decisive, as he kept the ball under control at the by-line even after losing his balance, got back up and rolled back for unmarked Marten De Roon to drill past Alisson from 14 yards.
Roma fell apart and lost the ball repeatedly, not punished further just because Cornelius saw his first touch let him down when getting away from Fazio again.
Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick had given Roma the win in Bergamo back in August and he almost repeated the trick, but it was deflected off Edin Dzeko inches wide with Etrit Berisha wrong-footed.
Cornelius turned wide as he spun on the penalty spot and it was almost 3-0, as Remo Freuler’s low volley from the edge of the area thumped the base of the upright.
Edin Dzeko tried to score a goal very similar to that of Cornelius, but steered the finish wide of the far post.
Roma were handed a lifeline on the stroke of half-time, as De Roon received a second yellow card for a trip on Kolarov, a soft decision that infuriated Coach Gian Piero Gasperini so much he was sent off for dissent.
Bryan Cristante replaced Josip Ilicic and Atalanta continued to dominate the game, Gomez testing Alisson at the near post.
Dzeko’s glancing header whistled just wide and another was deflected for Berisha to pluck off the line, but he finally got one back with a precise left-foot angled drive as he held off Jose Luis Palomino.
The Giallorossi were pouring forward and a Kolarov missile flew not far wide from distance, as did Alessandro Florenzi’s strike. With five minutes left, El Shaarawy had a double opportunity, but the first was charged down by Rafael Toloi and the follow-up deflected wide off Andrea Masiello’s chest.
Ultimately, Roma dominated the second half, but against 10 men didn’t create enough to really earn a point.
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Sent off: De Roon 44 (A)