Roma dominated the first half, then vanished in the second as Atalanta snatched a shock 2-1 victory to close within a point of the Giallorossi.
The two form teams in Serie A went head-to-head, fourth against second, building on a bitter rivalry that has been going for years. The Bergamo boys had won five of the last six rounds, drawing the other, but missed Boukary Drame, Abdoulay Konko and suspended Andrea Conti. Roma were without Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi, Thomas Vermaelen and Mario Rui.
Atalanta were unbeaten against Roma since November 2014, earning a win and two draws, home and away.
Roberto Gagliardini drilled wide and Edin Dzeko’s header skimmed the far post.
Radja Nainggolan sent Mohamed Salah clear, but Etrit Berisha rushed off the line to charge down with his legs in a one-on-one situation.
Dzeko knocked down an ideal assist for Salah, but the shot was charged down by Rafael Toloi’s arm. The ex-Roma defender moved his hand towards the ball, so it was a penalty and Diego Perotti coolly converted.
Salah horribly wasted another clear scoring opportunity, sent clear once more by Nainggolan, as he prodded it straight into the arms of Berisha from point-blank range.
Atalanta came out fighting for the second half, Toloi’s header saved and a Gomez screamer swerving just past the far top corner.
The equaliser did arrive in curious circumstances, because Wojciech Szczesny palmed a Franck Kessie’ cross on to Mattia Caldara’s face, so it ricocheted into the net from point-blank range.
Atalanta were suddenly in absolute control, coming forward in waves. Kessie’s shot was deflected off Bruno Peres, Gomez then sent Kostas Manolas to ground with a mazy run and Szczesny forced him wide, Antonio Rudiger nodding the cross out for a corner.
Atalanta penalty appeals were waved away for a clumsy Dzeko coming together with Roberto Gagliardini. Remo Freuler thought he’d won it on 76 minutes, but the deflected finish thumped the near post and rebounded into Szczesny’s grateful hands.
Federico Fazio flung himself in the path of Gagliardini’s strike after another Gomez assist, as Roma were well and truly on the ropes.
In stoppages Leandro Paredes tripped the unstoppable Papu Gomez for a penalty. Teenager Kessie stepped up and sent Szczesny the wrong way, turning the game around for a deserved Atalanta victory.
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