Atalanta got their first Europa League group stage campaign since 2021/22 off to a flying start, easing past Polish champions Rakow Czestochowa 2-0 on home turf. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men put on a dominant performance at the Gewiss Stadium, maintaining an impressive spell of form in Bergamo.
Following a season-long hiatus from UEFA competition, Atalanta returned with a bang. La Dea asserted dominance from the opening whistle, but the final touch often let them down in the first half. Ademola Lookman came close to breaking the deadlock, yet he couldn’t turn Luis Muriel’s teasing cross goalwards.
The Colombian tried to take matters into his own hands, but his header failed to threaten Rakow goalkeeper Vladan Kovacevic. The same went for Charles De Ketelaere’s effort from long range. Despite dominating the game through and through, Atalanta had to settle for a 0-0 halftime score. But they had every reason for optimism going into the second half.
It took La Dea only four minutes after the break to find a well-deserved opener. De Keteleaere outjumped his marker to get his head on the end of Davide Zappacosta’s cross to put Atalanta in front with his second goal for Gasperini’s side. The Italians never gave up their attacking endeavors despite grabbing the lead.
Their initiative paid off in the 66th minute. Matteo Rugeri floated the ball to the far past to find unmarked Ederson, who had no problems poking home to put the game to bed. Rakow failed to respond as Atalanta kicked things off in Group D with a comfortable win.
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