Lazio Defeat Champions League Rivals Atalanta in Classy Display

For the second time in a week Atalanta and Lazio renewed hostilities after the sides met in the Coppa Italia with Atalanta coming out on top 3-2. But this time, it was the Biancocelesti to claim a convincing 3-1 win.

Gian Piero Gasperini made numerous changes to his Atalanta side for that tie but this week returned key starters in Josip Iličić and Duván Zapata up front. Summer signing Aleksei Miranchuk, who starred against Lazio, retained his place behind the strikers.

Dutchman Marten De Roon came into center midfield and Matteo Ruggeri took his place on the left wing replacing Matteo Pessina and Robin Gosens respectively. The last change was Rafael Tolói who returned at center back for Argentine Cristian Romero.

Simone Inzaghi also rang the changes for his Lazio team bringing back the key attacking trident of Joaquin Correa, Luis Alberto and top scorer Ciro Immobile with these three combining for 20 goals this season in favour of Vedat Muriqi, Andreas Pereira and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro.

Ștefan Radu was recalled at center back alongside Francesco Acerbi and Patric. Adam Marušić and Lucas Leiva were also recalled to the midfield five with Gonzalo Escalante and Mohamed Fares dropping to the bench.

The Biancocelesti opened the scoring in only the 3rd minute through a wonderful curling effort from Montenegro international Marušić. A lightning fast start ending with a sliding tackle on Correa as he looked to make his way into the box. The loose ball fell into the path of the winger just to the left hand side of the box. Taking a touch to his right, Marušić steadied himself before sending his effort into the far right corner leaving Pierluigi Gollini in goal with no chance.

Sergej Milinković-Savić nearly doubled his side’s lead with a close range free kick that whistled just past the left hand post after the Serbian had curled it over the wall. Clear cut opportunities were at a premium as the first half ended 1-0 in favour of the visitors.

The second half began as the first, with Lazio claiming an early goal. A long clearance upfield was flicked on by Immobile into the path of his striking partner Correa who found himself clean through on goal. As he approached Gollini, the Argentine faked left taking it around the stranded goalkeeper and rolling into an empty net from a somewhat tight angle for his 2nd goal of the season.

Gasperini responded to the goal by making two changes, bringing on Luis Muriel for Zapata and Mario Pašalić for Miranchuk.

Lazio continued to cause problems though for the home side and Manuel Lazzari nearly scored a third, outpacing the back line and forcing Gollini to rush from his goal and see aside the Italian’s effort.

Atalanta though managed to pull a goal back just before the 80th minute. A good cross from the left hand side engineered by Sam Lammers who had entered as a substitute was turned onto the post by Luis Muriel and the rebound fell kindly to Pašalić who tucked the ball away.

As Atalanta pressed for an immediate equalizer, they were once again punished by Lazio. An excellent through ball from Milinković-Savić sent substitute Andreas Pereira scuttling in behind and he squared unselfishly to another replacement Vedat Muriqi who had the easy task of tapping home into an open goal.

That effort killed any fight La Dea had and Lazio comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to secure a priceless three points in the race for the Champions League spots and overtake their rivals moving into 5th place.

Lazio next host struggling Cagliari next Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico as they look to continue their impressive run of form in the league with this win their fifth on the spin.

For Atalanta, they will need to recover from this loss quickly as they travel to Naples on Wednesday night for their first leg of the Coppa Italia Semi Final before returning home to Bergamo to play relegation threatened Torino as the schedule begins to take its toll.



January 31, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 20

SCORERS: 3′ Marusic (L), 51′ Correa (L), 79′ Pasalic (A), 82′ Muriqi (L)

ATALANTA (3-4-1-2): Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler (78′ Caldara), Ruggeri (46′ Malinovskyi); Miranchuk (54′ Pasalic); Ilicic (67′ Lammers), Zapata (54′ Muriel) (Sportiello, Rossi, Pessina, Scalvini) Coach: Gasperini
LAZIO (3-5-2): Reina; Patric (38′ Musacchio), Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas Leiva (80′ Escalante), Luis Alberto (54′ Akpa Akpro), Marusic; Immobile (80′ Muriqi), Correa (81′ A. Pereira) (Alia, Fares, Hoedt, Lulic, Parolo, G. Pereira) Coach: S. Inzaghi

REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padova
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Patric, Musacchio (L); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 3′