Napoli vs Atalanta 2-3: La Dea Edge Five-Goal Thriller

Atalanta extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches as they edged a five-goal thriller against Napoli on Saturday evening in Serie A. La Dea recorded a 3-2 win here as Remo Freuler scored the winning goal to earn all three points. 

Ruslan Malinovskyi put the visitors in front after just seven minutes with an excellent finish but the Partenopei fought back to go in at 1-1 at the break thanks to a Piotr Zielinski equaliser. Dries Mertens put the hosts in front shortly after half time but goals by Merih Demiral and Remo Freuler completed the comeback as Atalanta got the win in a thrilling match at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. 

Team News: Napoli Stretched Thin, Atalanta Make Seven Changes

Kalidou Koulibaly was added to the extensive injury list for Luciano Spalletti’s side as he picked up a hamstring injury midweek. Victor Osimhen, Fabian Ruiz, Lorenzo Insigne, Andre Zambo Anguissa and Kostas Manolas all remained sidelined for the match here too as they continue to recover from their respective injuries. 

Gian Piero Gasperini made seven changes from their 4-0 victory over Venezia last time out as Juan Musso, Jose Luis Palomino, Demiral and Matteo Pessina were the only players to remain in the starting 11.

End-to-End Action

Napoli started on the front foot and looked to put the pressure on but they could not create anything too challenging after the first five minutes. 

Atalanta took the lead in seventh minute through a wonderful strike by Ruslan Malinovskyi. Duvan Zapata caused Amir Rrahmani all sorts of problems as he got on the end of a ball from deep by Palomino. The Colombian kept his composure well and laid it back to Malinovskyi, who finished the move off brilliantly with a world class finish into the top left corner. 

After the first goal, the game started to heat up and the tensions started to rise in Naples, with the crowd making themselves heard. It was a fast paced, high tempo match here, as both sides looked to get on the attack. 

Hirving Lozano had a fantastic opportunity to level the scores when he nearly got on the end of a fantastic cross from the left flank by Mario Rui. The Portuguese wing-back advanced well down the left and whipped a great ball in across the goal but the sliding Lozano could not poke the ball home. 

The opening stages were highly entertaining as Atalanta also started to create and assert some pressure on the Napoli backline. Both sides looked dangerous as the match looked hungry for goals from the off. 

Palomino had a good opportunity to double Atalanta’s lead but his effort from inside the box was blocked bravely by Juan Jesus. 

Napoli Take Control 

Piotr Zielinski equalised for Napoli just before half time, despite Atalanta starting to get a hold on the game. Lozano worked the ball excellently down the right flank. Eventually it fell to Kevin Malcuit down the right who crossed the ball in. Mertens laid the ball off to Zielinski who was able to convert, albeit after his second attempt after an initial block by Palomino. 

Napoli started to grow into the match as the first half came to an end as they looked to put the pressure on. They carried their momentum into the second half and Mertens put Napoli in the lead just after the break with a composed finish past Musso. It was poor defending by Demiral in the build-up to the goal as Mertens was able to turn the defender and use his pace to run all the way through on goal. 

Atalanta Fight Back

It didn’t take long for Atalanta to fight back and they came close to making it 2-2 but Zapata’s effort hit the post. The rebound nearly fell to Rafael Toloi but Napoli were able to clear, following a fortunate touch by David Ospina. 

Napoli looked to sit deep once they took the lead, as Atalanta took the initiative to try and get back into the match. 

However, the Partenopei were made to eventually rue taking their foot off the gas as Demiral equalised for Atalanta in the 66th minute with a brilliant finish, smashing the ball home into the roof of the net at a tight angle from the right. Toloi played a fantastic ball into the half space as the galloping Demiral latched onto the ball with a fantastic run in behind the Napoli defense. 

Atalanta found the fifth goal of the night as Remo Freuler put the visitors 3-2 up with a cool side foot finish into the bottom left corner. Josip Ilicic did well down the right flank and cut the ball back to the Swiss midfielder. 

Freuler scored the winner for the visitors which capped off a wonderful night of entertaining Serie A action in Naples. Napoli fought well, considering their injury issues, but it was Atalanta who managed to take all three points here. 

What’s Next for Napoli and Atalanta?

Both sides turn to their European duties for their next match as Napoli play host to Leicester in the Europa League where all four sides in Group C could all still qualify. 

Atalanta will host Villarreal in Group F of the Champions League as they fight for qualification into the round of 16. 


December 4, 2021 – Serie A 2021-22 Round 16

SCORERS: 7′ Malinovskyi (A), 40′ Zielinski (N), 47′ Mertens (N), 66′ Demiral (A), 71′ Freuler (A) 

NAPOLI (3-4-2-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus; Malcuit (85′ Politano), Lobotka (55′ Demme), Zielinski, Rui; Lozano (67′ Petagna), Elmas; Mertens (67′ Ounas) (Marfella, Meret, Ghoulam, Mane) Coach: Spalletti

ATALANTA (3-4-2-1): Musso; Toloi, Demiral, Palomino; Zappacosta (46′ Hateboer), de Roon, Freuler, Maehle (82′ Djimsiti); Malinovskyi (73′ Pasalic), Pessina (56′ Ilicic); Zapata (82′ Muriel) (Rossi, Sportiello, Pezzella, Scalvini, Koopmeiners, Miranchuk, Piccoli) Coach: Gasperini

REFEREE: Mr. Mariani from Rome 
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Malinovskyi (A), Rrahmani (N), Malcuit (N), Djimsiti (A) Added Time: 1st Half, 2nd Half 4′