Atalanta earned a thumping 3-0 victory at the Stadio Vigorito, even after missing a penalty, with Musa Barrow’s debut Serie A strike.
This means Benevento will be relegated tonight if either Crotone or SPAL lose their games this evening.
Le Streghe knew they were practically doomed, but curiously that freed them up to play the kind of attacking football they’d wanted to all season. Cheick Diabate ensured they weren’t going down without a fight, bagging a brace in each of his last three games. Guilherme, Luca Antei and Ledian Memushaj were injured, while Europe-chasing Atalanta missed Josip Ilicic, Leonardo Spinazzola, Jose Luis Palomino and suspended Rafael Toloi.
Benevento forced a Robin Gosens goal-line clearance on a corner within six minutes, while Cheick Diabate’s chip was over the bar just days after he scored a similar chance against Sassuolo.
Hans Hateboer’s curler tested the goalkeeper before Atalanta took the lead with a well-worked move. Andrea Petagna sent Bryan Cristante clear and he generously rolled it across for unmarked Remo Freuler to tap in.
Cristante did get the ball in the back of the net himself after the restart, but was flagged offside, then Benevento were horribly caught in possession by Marten De Roon and substitute Musa Barrow made the most of it with a splendid right-foot curler from just inside the area. It was the teenager’s debut Serie A goal.
Barrow had another attempt deflected just wide and Andrea Masiello only scuffed his chance from the resulting corner. Atalanta were awarded a penalty via VAR, which judged Del Pinto’s foul on Gosens to be inside the penalty area. However, De Roon stepped up, slipped on the spot and ballooned it into the stratosphere.
The third goal was only postponed, as moments later Papu Gomez dribbled through three defenders with marvellous close control to deposit into the net.
It was almost 4-0 when Papu’s through ball sent Cristante clear, but Cristian Puggioni bravely rushed off his line to block.
Nicolas Viola also tried to get at least a consolation goal for Benevento, but his free kick was turned away by Etrit Berisha
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Missed penalty: De Roon 66 (A)