Thanks to second-half goals from de Roon and Højlund, Atalanta come from behind at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo to seize a 2-1 comeback victory against Empoli on matchday 27 of the Serie A TIM.
Atalanta got off to a strong start, creating chances from the very beginning. Pašalić gave it a whirl in the 1st minute, sending his effort over, while de Roon stung Perisan’s gloves in the 3rd minute with a left-foot curler from the edge of the box. Gasperini’s men kept on producing clear-cut chances to open the scoring, with Pašalić having a go first with a header on 28 minutes and then with a goal-bound shot that was cleared off the line in the 34th minute. Zapata almost broke the deadlock with a diving header that grazed the post, and then Pašalić came up with another threat in the 40th minute. Despite countless attempts from the black-and-blues, it was the visitors who took the lead through Ebuehi on 44 minutes.
The second half started with a threat from Empoli, as Caputo’s attempts were first cleared by Scalvini and then smothered by Musso. The time was ripe to level the score though, and Ruggeri whipped in a lovely cross that de Roon nodded in on 58 minutes. The Nerazzurri almost made it 2-1 through Ruggeri, as his header skimmed the post. At that point, Gasperini decided to sub Lookman, Boga and Højlund in, and it was the Danish striker that completed the comeback in the 86th minute, pouncing on a loose ball and firing past Perisan, putting Atalanta 2-1 up. Gasperini’s men came close to adding another goal in injury time, as both Lookman and Højlund forced Perisan into saves. Thanks to a hard-fought and resilient performance, Atalanta seized a 2-1 comeback victory at the Gewiss Stadium.
The league now goes on hold for the international break. Training at the Centro Bortolotti will resume on Tuesday with a behind-closed-doors session taking place in the afternoon.
ATALANTA 2-1 EMPOLI
Scorers: Ebuehi 44 (E), de Roon 58 (A), Højlund 86 (A)
Atalanta: Musso, Toloi, Palomino, Scalvini (Lookman 76), Zappacosta (Mæhle 90), de Roon, Éderson, Ruggeri, Pašalić (Demiral 90), Zapata (Højlund 79), Muriel (Boga 79). Unused bench: Rossi, Sportiello, Okoli, Colombo, Chiwisa, Soppy. Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Empoli: Perisan, Ebuehi, De Winter, Luperto, Parisi, Akpa Akpro (Henderson 70), Grassi (Ismajli 59, Walukiewicz 80), Fazzini (Bandinelli 59), Baldanzi (Haas 70), Caputo, Satriano. Unused bench: Ujkani, Stubljar, Cacace, Pjaca, Marin, Destro, Tonelli, Stojanovic, Vignato, Piccoli. Coach: Paolo Zanetti.
Referee: Federico Dionisi from L’Aquila.
Assistant referees: Christian Rossi from La Spezia and Marco D’Ascanio from Ancona.
Fourth official: Juan Luca Sacchi from Macerata.
V.A.R.: Valerio Marini from Rome 1.
A.V.A.R.: Oreste Muto from Torre Annunziata.
Notes: Henderson (E), Lookman (A), Palomino (A), and Ruggeri (A) booked.