Atalanta pushed past Genoa with relative ease to consolidate sixth place, though there was a plucky second half comeback.
The Bergamo Boys had leapfrogged Milan into sixth place last week and intended to hold on to it, hosting a Genoa side that was practically safe from the drop after a strong run under Davide Ballardini. Leonardo Spinazzola was still out of action, but Josip Ilicic returned and teenage striker Musa Barrow was given another chance to shine after two assists and a goal in five appearances. The Grifone missed Armando Izzo, Nicolas Spolli and Pedro Pereira.
Atalanta had won their previous four meetings with Genoa, home and away, going into this fixture. Papu Gomez was particularly happy to face the Rossoblu, having scored his only Serie A hat-trick against them.
It was a very aggressive start from the hosts, as the Timothy Castagne cross skimmed the head of Papu Gomez and Remo Freuler blasted a Musa Barrow assist over, but Etrit Berisha’s gloves were stung by a strangely swerving Iuri Medeiros strike.
After a series of Atalanta chances, they eventually broke through with teenager Barrow’s second Serie A goal. He made it look as if Luca Rossettini was running through treacle, sprinting behind him to steal the ball and beat Mattia Perin at the near post.
It was one-way traffic and Bryan Cristante won back possession in midfield, completed a give-and-go with Gomez before sweeping home from 12 yards with his left foot.
Perin prevented a third on the stroke of half-time, denying Barrow at the near post, but Davide Ballardini transformed his side for the second half and the performance was far better.
Nonetheless, Perin flew to palm away a Josip Ilicic special from distance, but could do nothing on a splendid left-foot curler into the far top corner from a tight angle.
Papu Gomez went on the counter and tried to dink it over Perin, but the goalkeeper stuck out a hand for a decisive deflection.
Instead, Miguel Veloso curled a splendid free kick over the wall and into the near top corner to give Genoa a consolation goal.
Giuseppe Rossi almost made it 3-2, his smashing volley into the ground shaving a coat of paint off the far post.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk