Atalanta’s Show Has No End: Seven More Goals in Lecce!

Feature Photo: AP

With a storming second half, Atalanta did it again, coming up with another tremendous performance which resulted in seven goals delivered to their unfortunate opponents. Gian Piero Gasperini’s Bergamaschi won 7-2 at the Via del Mare Stadium in Lecce, consolidating their fourth place in the Serie A table.

Duvan Zapata scored three times in an afternoon which also saw Josep Ilicic, Luis Muriel, and Ruslan Malinovskyi netting for La Dea. An own-goal by Giulio Donati had resulted in Atalanta’s initial goal, with the Inter home-grown right-back also scoring for Lecce – alongside with Riccardo Saponara – to make the Giallorossi’s defeat just a little less painful.   

Coach Fabio Liverani’s side had managed to come back and hold onto a 2-2 score until the break, but they were overwhelmed by Atalanta’s offensive power in the second half. The Bergamaschi have scored 70 goals in 25 campionato games, averaging 2.8 per match. There are no words to keep describing Gasperini’s perfect attacking machine, which scored seven goals away for the second time this season, after having similarly raided the Grande Torino Stadium just a few weeks ago, and at least five goals for the fifth time.

Atalanta’s approach to the game was ferocious, with the Nerazzurri pressing hard on Liverani’s side and applying some aggressive man-to-man marking. Their first goal came in the 17th minute, though it was more a gift on the part of Giulio Donati. The former Inter defender anticipated his own goalkeeper in an attempt to defuse a corner by Josep Ilicic but sent the ball in the wrong place.

Five minutes later, Duvan Zapata rounded up with another header as he anticipated his marker Luca Rossettini. The game seemed over already, but Lecce unexpectedly managed to bounce back and equalized before the end of the first half.

Riccardo Saponara had the merit of giving new hopes to the Giallorossi by scoring the best goal in the afternoon. Midfielder Alessandro Deiola found him on the left side with a perfectly-timed cross and the former Fiorentina playmaker produced a stunning right-foot curl that gained a round of applause from the Via del Mare stands. Atalanta seemed to feel the hit and Donati redeemed himself in the 40th minute by scoring in the right goal this time with a powerful shot from an assist by Saponara.

That was the end of it for Lecce, however, as the second half started exactly in the same way as the first one. Atalanta took another immediate lead, but this time crushed the opponents scoring two more times in the space of 15 minutes which left no room for any more comeback attempt.

Josip Ilicic tallied the third for the Nerazzurri just two minutes after the restart, then Duvan Zapata scored twice to complete his daily hat-trick: First, he finished from an assist by Mario Pasalic taking advantage of Fabio Lucioni’s poor marking; then, he came up with an acrobatic conversion from a cross by Josip Ilicic on the far post.

With the scoresheet reading 5-2 and still 30 minutes to go, Atalanta could control the game as Lecce were unable to react despite Fabio Liverani’s multiple changes. And so, it was easy for Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskyi to join the goal-fest from the bench (replacing Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic) and increase the score for the away side.

The next test for Atalanta will be Simone Inzaghi’s ramping Lazio, and you can bet it’s going to be a game to watch. As far as Lecce and their safety chances go, the Giallorossi are still just above the drop zone but need to start picking up some more points pretty fast. Oh, and doing something about their defense of course – as conceding 11 goals in 2 games won’t help them much in a battle for survival where even goal difference could play a role.     


March 1, 2020 – Serie A 2019-2020 Round 25

17′ Donati (L, o.g.), 22′ Zapata (A), 29′ Saponara (L), 40′ Donati (L), 47′ Ilicic (A), 54′ Zapata (A), 62′ Zapata (A), 87′ Muriel (A), 91′ Malinovskyi (A)

LECCE (4-3-2-1): Gabriel; Donati, Lucioni, Rossettini, Calderoni; Majer (63′ Tachtsidis), Deiola, Barak; Saponara, Mancosu (63′ Shakhov); Lapadula (Vigorito, Chironi, Vera, Petriccione, Paz, Meccariello, Oltremarini, Rispoli, Dell’Orco, Rimoli) Coach: Liverani
ATALANTA (3-4-1-2): Gollini; De Roon, Caldara, Palomino; Hateboer, Freuler, Pasalic, Gosens; Gomez (69′ Malinovskyi); Ilicic (73′ Muriel), Zapata (85′ Tameze) (Sportiello, Rossi, Czyborra, Bellanova, Okoli, Castagne, Colley) Coach: Gasperini

REFEREE: Mr. Massa from Imperia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Lucioni, Saponara (L), Hateboer, Palomino (A)