Atalanta took just 15 minutes to tear Bologna apart, including a Josip Ilicic brace, and this 4-1 win puts them within a point of fourth-placed Milan.
The Orobici went in knowing a win would put them clear in fifth place, just one point off Milan in the Champions League spot. Rafael Toloi was out injured, while Bologna missed Mattia Destro and Federico Mattiello, but had Federico Santander back on the bench after several weeks out with a dislocated shoulder. Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men had won three on the bounce to clamber out of the drop zone, but Empoli beat Napoli yesterday and turned the situation around again.
It took just three minutes to break through with a Josip Ilicic stunner, as he cut inside past a defender and curled a spectacular left-foot special into the far top corner.
Moments later, it was 2-0, as Ilicic had proved he’s pretty handy with his right boot as well. The mercurial Slovenian ran on to a through ball and hit a screamer from the tightest of angles that bounced off the inside of the far post.
It was one-way traffic, as Ilicic then added an assist to his remarkable opening nine minutes, threading through for Hans Hateboer to rifle in a right-foot angled drive.
Bologna wasted a golden opportunity to get one back, as first Ladislav Krejci’s shot was beaten away by Pierluigi Gollini at the near post, then Krejci put it back in only for Diego Falcinelli to somehow prod wide from three yards.
It was costly, because Atalanta immediately scored a fourth, Duvan Zapata breaking away down the left from midfield, shrugging off Giancarlo Gonzalez and blasting into the roof of the net with his right boot from a tight angle.
It was the first time one team had scored four goals in the opening 15 minutes of a Serie A match since Juventus against Roma in March 1932, a fixture that eventually ended 7-1.
Marten De Roon almost scored the goal of the season when Lukasz Skorupski came tearing out and he attempted the lob from midfield, but it floated just wide of the open goal.
Falcinelli fired at Gollini on a Riccardo Orsolini through ball, then the Atalanta goalkeeper was at fault for the Bologna consolation goal. Orsolini hit a free kick from near the corner flag, Gollini misjudged it and got a hand to the ball, so it ricocheted in off the underside of the bar.
Falcinelli’s glancing header whistled wide and Duvan Zapata had another goal disallowed, as he used his arm to control an Ilicic free kick and fire in from six yards. The Colombian was booked for that gesture, which seemed involuntary, and it means he will be suspended for this weekend’s showdown with Inter.
Skorupski was again caught way off his line, but this time Gonzalez got back to clear Musa Barrow’s finish out of an open goal.
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