Atalanta’s nightmare week concluded with a 1-0 home defeat to Cagliari, decided by a deflected Nicolò Barella free kick.
The Orobici had to shake off the bitter disappointment of losing the Europa League play-offs to FC Copenhagen on penalties on Thursday evening, a few days before that fumbling a 3-1 lead at Roma to draw 3-3. Josip Ilicic was still out of action, joined by Rafael Toloi, Jose Luis Palomino and fatigued Papu Gomez, but Emiliano Rigoni was fired up after a brace against the Giallorossi. Cagliari had a poor start to the campaign, beaten by Empoli and held 2-2 at the last minute by a Sassuolo penalty. Luca Ceppitelli was ruled out through injury with Joao Pedro still suspended, but Lucas Castro returned.
Marten De Roon’s strike was deflected and Atalanta almost scored directly from the corner flag, but Cagliari missed a sitter on 28 minutes.
Nicolo Barella’s cross found Marco Sau unmarked at the back post, he could’ve shot or pulled it back for his teammates, but instead volleyed meekly across the six-yard box.
Ali Adnan tested Alessio Cragno in goal and Duvan Zapata failed to get on the end of a Rigoni cross-shot, but Cagliari took the lead in first half stoppages.
Barella’s free kick was whipped in from a tight angle and took a deflection off the head of Mario Pasalic to ensure Etrit Berisha couldn’t reach it in the far top corner.
Papu Gomez was introduced and Atalanta poured forward, Cragno tipping a Rigoni cross off the head of Duvan Zapata, while the Robin Gosens screamer flashed inches wide.
Atalanta threw everything at Cagliari, but the fatigue of the 120 minutes and penalty shoot-out in Denmark took its toll.
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