Serie A Week 26 - 1 Mar 2020 (14.00 UK)
Lecce 2 - 7 Atalanta
Donati og 17 (A), Duvan Zapata 22, 54, 62 (A), Saponara 29 (L), Donati 40 (L), Ilicic 47 (A), Muriel 87 (A), Malinovskyi 91 (A)
Stadio Via Del Mare

Lecce had fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, but Duvan Zapata’s hat-trick and some Josip Ilicic magic gave Atalanta the thumping 7-2 victory.

La Dea had to do without Berat Djimsiti, Rafael Toloi and Bosko Sutalo, so moved Marten de Roon into the makeshift back three. Lecce saw their run of three straight wins ended by a 4-0 hammering at Roma, but Riccardo Saponara returned, with Diego Farias, Khouma Babacar and Filippo Falco still sidelined.

Josip Ilicic completed a give-and-go with Duvan Zapata, but his touch let him down and allowed Lecce to scramble for a corner. From that set play, Jose Luis Palomino couldn’t get a clean header at the back post, allowing Zan Majer to clear off the line.

It was extremely windy and that seemed to influence the opening goal, as the corner swerved in the air and Giulio Donati misjudged it, accidentally nodding into his own net from six yards.

Ilicic cut inside and his left-foot curler was palmed round the far post, but from that corner Atalanta doubled their lead once more. The header from seven yards was at least on purpose this time, with Duvan Zapata shrugging off Luca Rossettini.

Ilicic and Papu Gomez fired over the bar, but Lecce got one back with a moment of magic from Saponara, who cut inside past Hans Hateboer to curl a stunning right-foot finish into the far top corner from the edge of the area. It was his first Serie A goal since December 2018.

De Roon might’ve been in defence, but he went up for a corner and his strike was just off target after an odd swerve in the air.

Instead, Lecce completed the comeback from 2-0 to 2-2 before half-time. Saponara was involved again, twisting and turning to get the cross to the edge of the box, where Donati made up for the own goal with a daisy-cutter into the bottom corner.

Both teams make positivity the basis of their football and it made for a spectacular game. Ilicic restored Atalanta’s lead when he set up Gomez for a parried angled drive, got on to the rebound and with one cheeky move sent the goalkeeper and three defenders to the ground, able to tap in with his other boot.

Mario Pasalic should’ve made it 4-2 within a minute, but prodded wide from 12 yards. Duvan Zapata did get the fourth, totally unmarked to meet the ball as Ilicic delicately rolled it across the six-yard box.

Atalanta were running riot, as Duvan Zapata completed his hat-trick in style. Ilicic combined with Gomez, acrobatically volleyed it across for Duvan Zapata to beat Gabriel at the back post.

Luis Muriel came off the bench, completed a rapid give-and-go, his finish off the outside of the boot fingertipped round the far post.

Panagiotis Tachtsidis nearly got a consolation with his volley inches wide from the edge of the area.

Muriel went clear from midfield on an inspired Ruslan Malinovskyi pass and fired on to the upright, turning in on the rebound. The offside flag was up, but after several minutes checking the incredibly tight decision, VAR confirmed the Colombian was not offside. He waved an apology to the crowd, having started his Serie A career at Lecce many years ago.

There was no mercy from Malinovskyi, though, who drilled into the near bottom corner from the D with the last kick of the game.

La Dea have 70 goals in just 25 Serie A rounds, as last week’s game was postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Lecce: Gabriel; Donati, Lucioni, Rossettini, Calderoni; Majer (Tachtsidis 63), Deiola, Barak; Mancosu (Shakhov 63), Saponara; Lapadula
Atalanta: Gollini; De Roon, Caldara, Palomino; Hateboer, Pasalic, Freuler, Gosens; Gomez (Malinovskyi 69); Duvan Zapata (Tameze 85), Ilicic (Muriel 73)
Ref: Massa