Atalanta twice fought back from Samuel Di Carmine goals and, after Hellas Verona went down to 10 men, snatched a 3-2 thriller with Berat Djimsiti.
This was a touchline reunion between Ivan Juric and his mentor Gian Piero Gasperini, having worked with the coach as both player and assistant manager. It was also sixth against eighth in the Serie A table, with Duvan Zapata injured, but no stars rested ahead of a Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk. Hellas had Koray Gunter suspended, with Marash Kumbulla, Daniel Bessa, Eddie Salcedo, Lubomir Tupta and Emmanuel Badu side-lined.
Luis Muriel wasted a golden opportunity after 11 minutes, firing straight at Marco Silvestri when clear on goal. The Colombian missed another sitter with his angled drive wide, but his blushes were spared by the offside flag this time.
It was Verona who took the lead when Atalanta were caught napping on a Marco Davide Faraoni throw-in, as Samuel Di Carmine kept his cool to place an angled drive past Pierluigi Gollini. The hosts complained that there were two Verona players attempting to take the throw-in and for a moment two balls on the pitch, but the goal was given.
There was even worse news for Atalanta moments later, as Josip Ilicic limped off clutching the back of his right thigh, making way for Ruslan Malinovskyi.
Muriel and Hans Hateboer continued to waste promising opportunities, while Silvestri plucked a Papu Gomez half-volley out from under the bar.
The Atalanta pressure finally paid off thanks to a moment of magic from their substitute, as Malinovskyi hit a screamer from 20 metres into the far top corner, giving Silvestri no chance. It was quite a way to mark his first Serie A goal and he was the 11th different scorer for Atalanta this season.
Straight after the restart, Mario Pasalic’s strike was deflected over from 10 yards in a well-worked move, but just as Atalanta were pouring forward to take the lead, they were caught out on the counter.
As often happens with Gian Piero Gasperini’s teams, one failure to cut out a through ball leaves huge gaps at the back and it was rolled across for Di Carmine to slide in unmarked from six yards.
The referee was called to an on-field VAR review when Timothy Castagne anticipated Faraoni in the box and was caught from behind. There was no contact with the ball, so it was a penalty for Atalanta, converted by Muriel for 2-2.
Atalanta wanted all three points and Silvestri used his legs to parry a Gomez angled drive, then had his gloves stung by Papu again. Malinovskyi turned over, Musa Barrow was offside and fired straight at Silvestri, but Verona went down to 10 men, as Pawel Dawidowicz received a second yellow card.
It was a siege and particularly a battle between Papu Gomez and Silvestri, as the goalkeeper made three saves in stoppages.
The winner came from an unexpected source, as three Atalanta defenders combined to create the goal. After a corner, Jose Luis Palomino’s pass was flicked up by Rafael Toloi and Berat Djimsiti kept his cool to volley in from six yards.
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Sent off: Dawidowicz 85 (V)