Atalanta completed yet another comeback from an Edin Dzeko goal to beat Roma 2-1 with Jose Luis Palomino and Mario Pasalic, going six points clear in fourth place.
This was a head-to-head for Champions League football, as La Dea were in fourth place, just three points in front of the Giallorossi. Gian Piero Gasperini had a full squad to choose from and kept squad rotation to a minimum ahead of the Round of 16 with Valencia next week. Bryan Cristante was suspended, with Javier Pastore, Nicolò Zaniolo, Amadou Diawara, Davide Zappacosta and Antonio Mirante injured, so Gianluca Mancini moved up into midfield and Bruno Peres got his first Roma start since May 2018.
Pau Lopez had to come rushing off his line to deny Papu Gomez one-on-one on the counter, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan did important defensive work tracking back to tackle Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata.
Hans Hateboer had the chance to fire in from six yards when springing the offside trap after a corner, but slipped at the crucial moment.
Ilicic drilled wide of the near post and Rafael Toloi’s acrobatic overhead kick skimmed the upright in what would’ve been a stunning strike.
Chris Smalling needed a perfectly timed tackle to stop Ilicic going clear on goal, as Federico Fazio had been left behind by the through ball.
Moments later, Diego Perotti sprinted to the by-line and pulled back only for Lorenzo Pellegrini to scuff the finish.
The deadlock was broken by Roma on the stroke of half-time. Jose Luis Palomino’s awful first touch to control an overhit Hans Hateboer back-pass gave Dzeko the opening he was looking for, as the Bosnian ran forward and curled a precise finish into the far bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Straight after the restart, Palomino made up for the error by scoring the equaliser. Gomez’s corner was knocked on by Djimsiti to the back post, where Palomino snuck up behind Leonardo Spinazzola to volley in at full stretch.
It was nearly 2-1 to Atalanta moments later, as Gosens rolled a ball across the face of goal for Hateboer, whose shot was cleared off the line by Federico Fazio, then the Marten de Roon follow-up was deflected wide.
Gian Piero Gasperini took off Duvan Zapata for Mario Pasalic, intending to move Gomez into a more advanced role. It proved a super substitution, because Pasalic scored 19 seconds later with his first touch, curling right-footed into the far top corner from 12 yards. Atalanta’s pressing game had won back the ball after a throw-in and it was prodded back into his path.
Dzeko pounced on another defensive error, this time by Remo Freuler, but Palomino was alert and made a clean tackle. A couple of Papu Gomez balls flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to get the final touch.
It was another comeback for La Dea, who have earned 71 points from trailing situations since Gasperini took over in 2016-17.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk