Luis Muriel opened the scoring within three minutes, but Atalanta fought back for a 3-1 victory over Fiorentina, another hugely enjoyable and emotional match.
These teams played a ludicrously entertaining 3-3 Coppa Italia semi-final thriller only three days ago, but found themselves facing off again with a top six Serie A position up for grabs. The Orobici had not beaten Fiorentina in Serie A since April 2012, managing only four draws and nine defeats. This result also terminated the Viola’s nine-round unbeaten away streak.
Federico Chiesa was jeered at every touch, as he was accused of going down far too easily the last time these sides met in Serie A.
The game started in typically explosive fashion, as within three minutes Marten De Roon’s horrible back-pass was intercepted by Muriel, who with a little shimmy left Gianluca Mancini in the dust and placed a precise angled drive into the far bottom corner.
Chiesa went on the counter from midfield and saw his angled drive somehow denied by an outstretched Pierluigi Gollini leg. Atalanta then countered from that corner, Cristiano Biraghi charging down the Josip Ilicic strike.
Every Serie A match this weekend was interrupted at the 13th minute to remember Davide Astori, as tomorrow will mark a year from his death. It was particularly emotional here for two reasons, as Astori was the Fiorentina captain when he passed away, but he hailed from near Bergamo and is buried just 20km away. There were tears around the ground, including from his former Viola teammate Ilicic, who was visibly distraught.
Papu Gomez unleashed a powerful strike that Alban Lafont flew to palm over the bar, then the goalkeeper used his foot to keep out Duvan Zapata’s finish from a tight angle, as the Colombian slipped when pulling the trigger.
Lafont again got down well for a one-handed save on Ilicic’s well-taken volley at the back post. Atalanta eventually got back on level terms with a stroke of luck, as a free kick was taken quickly for Ilicic, whose finish with his weaker right foot took a big deflection off Jordan Veretout to wrong-foot the goalkeeper.
Simeone sprinted to the by-line and his pull-back found Vincent Laurini, but he fluffed his lines one-on-one with Gollini, allowing a desperate save.
Instead, it was Atalanta who turned the game around completely. Papu Gomez started the run from inside his own half with his back to goal, spun one defender, ran forward with pace and smashed the finish under another Viola player into the near bottom corner.
It remained wide open with Chiesa somehow keeping the ball in play at the by-line and pulling back, but nobody was there to meet the pass.
Lafont was under siege towards half-time, first parrying an extraordinary Mancini volley from the corner, very similar to a goal Krzysztof Piatek scored against Atalanta last month, then fingertipped the Papu Gomez cross-shot out from under the bar.
Andrea Masiello went off injured, but Atalanta continued to control the initiative. Lafont palmed an Ilicic free kick over the crossbar, then on the resulting corner Berat Djimsiti’s header skimmed the far post.
The hosts battered Fiorentina into submission for their third goal. It was a long and persistent move with Duvan Zapata just failing to reach the Gomez ball flashed across the face of goal, then an Ilicic back-heel flick for Timothy Castagne to cross and Robin Gosens nodding in at the back post where the move had begun.
Chiesa was the last to give in and on 66 minutes his sensational right-foot curler smacked the crossbar with Gollini stranded. It was a finish reminiscent of the type of goal his father Enrico would score regularly.
Ilicic’s through ball sent Gomez clear on goal only for the captain to fire his angled drive wide of the far post, then Remo Freuler did the same on a Papu assist. Chiesa was the last to give in with a series of solo attempts deflected off target.
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