MAPEI STADIUM (REGGIO EMILIA) – Alejandro Papu Gomez was at his irresistible best for Atalanta on Saturday evening as he inspired the Bergamaschi to a 4-1 demolition of Sassuolo.
The Argentinian set the tempo early on and even playing most of the first half in a deeper position than he’s accustomed to, he was orchestral in a near-perfect opening 45 minutes from the Nerazzurri.
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Atalanta stormed the Mapei from the first minute and there was no surprise that Papu Gomez was central as his shot deflected behind for a corner.
Not to be kept waiting, La Dea’s captain picked the ball up a fair distance from goal shortly after and embarked on a one-man mission towards the hosts’ goal. Mazing his way through the Sassuolo midfield and backline en route, he arrived in front of Andrea Consigli after riding one tackle and nutmegging his way past another before lifting a poked effort in.
It was soon two. Josip Ilicic was the architect this time. After linking well with Rafael Toloi on the right, his low centre went all the way beyond the back post where Robin Gosens arrived to finish.
Papu got his second before half an hour was up. Another fine goal but this time due to some quick combination play. The No.10 and Duvan Zapata exchanged a one-two which set him through, this time prodding his effort beneath Consigli.
Zapata got his goal following a handful of his own missed chances and made it four five minutes later. Climbing high at the back post to meet a Hans Hateboer cross, he picked out the top corner with a header to grab his fifth in as many games this season.
Atalanta slowed considerably after the break and Gregoire Defrel finished into Marco Sportiello’s near top corner to pull one back for Sassuolo shortly after the hour mark. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, the VAR allowed the decision to be overturned and it stood.