Atalanta gave Roma a lesson in counter-attacking football, as a German Denis hat-trick sealed their 4-1 victory. Daniel Pablo Osvaldo and Marco Cassetti saw red.
The Giallorossi were hoping to improve their disappointing away form, but had to do so without the suspended Francesco Totti and injured Nicolas Burdisso. Daniele De Rossi was in the stands, reportedly due to disciplinary issues, and replaced by Marquinho. The Orobici missed Carlos Carmona, Adriano Ferreira Pinto and Daniele Capelli.
Atalanta had a great chance after two minutes, as Guido Marilungo dribbled past Aleandro Rosi and Juan only to crack his shot against the near post.
Stefano Lucchini pulled up with a suspected thigh strain and had to make way for Giampaolo Bellini.
Atalanta did get their goal with Marilungo on a classic counter-attack moments later. The Under-21 international gathered in the centre-circle and sprinted forward undisturbed to coolly side-foot past the on-rushing Maarten Stekelenburg.
It was a masterclass in counter-attacking tactics, as Roma kept sterile and slow possession only to be caught on the break. This time it was German Denis who exchanged passes with Maxi Moralez and smashed an angled drive across Stekelenburg at the near post.
It was nearly 3-0, as a corner was not defended effectively and Stekelenburg caught the Tomas Manfredini header.
Roma got one back with literally their first shot on target of the entire match. A wayward Daniel Pablo Osvaldo shot deflected into the path of Fabio Borini, who spun round to nutmeg a startled Andrea Consigli from six yards. The goalkeeper let the ball slip between his hands and his legs.
Marqinho fired wide from distance and in a well-worked move another Marquinho shot was deflected over the bar. It was all the Giallorossi in the closing stages of the first half, as they re-organised from that awful start.
In first half stoppages Maxi Moralez was booked for using his elbow on Aleandro Rosi as they jumped for the ball, leaving the defender with a bloodied lip.
Roma came out for the second half a good four minutes after the Atalanta players. There was a substitution, as Jose Angel replaced Rosi, moving Rodrigo Taddei to right-back.
However, it was Atalanta who got their third goal with yet another counter-attack. Denis and Marilungo exchanged a series of passes to slice the Roma defence in two until El Tanque tapped in from six yards.
Luca Cigarini and Osvaldo had an off the ball clash in which the Roma forward kicked at him from behind. Cigarini reacted and clipped his heels too, but Osvaldo was sent off for the gesture on advice from the fourth official, whereas Cigarini was booked.
Atalanta took full advantage and Denis completed his hat-trick. Marco Cassetti was caught out of position by a through ball after his horrible clearance and it was child’s play for Denis to chip the on-rushing Stekelenburg.
Roma lost their heads and went down to nine men in the final minutes, as Cassetti was sent off for insulting the officials.
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Sent off: Osvaldo 54 (R), Cassetti 82 (R)