Atalanta fought back from 2-0 down to beat Lazio 3-2 and end the Biancocelesti’s 21-match Serie A unbeaten run, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ruslan Malinovskyi rockets.
This was a showdown between fourth and second, but also the most entertaining sides in Serie A, as La Dea had scored 74 goals and the Biancocelesti 60. When they met earlier this season, Lazio fought back from 3-0 down to claw a stoppage-time equaliser.
Josip Ilicic still wasn’t fit after missing the 4-1 win over Sassuolo, so with Mario Pasalic suspended, Ruslan Malinovskyi stepped in. The Aquile missed Senad Lulic, Lucas Leiva, Luiz Felipe, Adam Marusic and Bobby Adekanye for their first game in over three months, while Danilo Cataldi was preferred to Marco Parolo.
It was, as expected, a dramatic opening to the game. In the opening five minutes, Thomas Strakosha incredibly gave the ball straight to Duvan Zapata, who in turn drilled it wide of the upright.
Moments later, Lazio took the lead when Manuel Lazzari went on the counter and his cross was blasted into the net by Marten de Roon in a surprisingly emphatic own goal.
It was nothing compared to the second Lazio goal, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired a missile with a wicked swerve at the end from a good 20 metres out, giving Lazio a 2-0 away lead within 11 minutes.
Ciro Immobile curled just wide, but there was a double Atalanta chance when Papu Gomez tested Strakosha after a give-and-go with Remo Freuler, then Duvan Zapata turned the rebound off target.
Malinovskyi’s snapshot was palmed round the post and La Dea were racking up a series of corners until getting a goal back. Hans Hateboer floated the cross to the back post for a towering Robin Gosens header.
Atalanta took control as the game wore on, Lazio content to strike on the counter, as Strakosha smothered a Gosens angled drive.
They came out fighting for the second half, Malinovskyi’s effort deflected and Berat Djimsiti firing just wide. Danilo Cataldi limped off with an injury to make way for Marco Parolo.
The pressure eventually paid off with an extraordinary goal from Malinovskyi that genuinely rivals the Milinkovic-Savic one from the first half, a left-foot missile into the near top corner that was simply unstoppable.
Atalanta had come back from 2-0 to 2-2 and now had the momentum, throwing on Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel. The turnaround felt inevitable and after Francesco Acerbi deflected a Muriel strike, on the resulting Gomez corner, Jose Luis Palomino nodded in at the back post for 3-2.
It was wide open in the thrilling finale, Felipe Caicedo failing to make the most of a Bastos cross and Jordan Lukaku firing over, but Strakosha kept Lazio in it with a one-handed save on-on-one with Gomez.
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