STADIO MARIO RIGAMONTI (Brescia) – History repeated itself in Serie A on Saturday afternoon as Atalanta inflicted a 3-0 defeat onto Brescia in their first Lombardia Derby in 13 years, just bettering their 2-0 win the last time they met.
That game came in Serie B and La Dea’s record in the top tier against their most fierce rivals hasn’t always been the best, with Saturday’s win being just their second at Brescia in Serie A.
But despite both sides being yo-yo teams for most of their recent history, the last few seasons have seen the gap between them increase and that was shown at the Rigamonti, where the Rondinelle very much looked like a side sitting bottom of the table.
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Fresh off the back of their first ever Champions League in in midweek, the visitors were well on top early on and the game could have been mistaken for an attack vs defence training exercise for the opening half an hour.
Luis Muriel had the first chance inside 35 seconds but shot over, then Robin Gosens had a header stopped before Josip Ilicic and Muriel combined to create an opening for the Slovenian but he also sent his shot over.
Ilicic was again involved to tee up Alejandro Papu Gomez but the captain followed the trend of disappointing with his final product, though he switched things up by not getting enough contact on the ball and trickling one into Jesse Joronen’s arms.
Gomez dummied to set up Ilicic who missed before Joronen did very well to turn a Muriel volley over the bar when he met a Gomez corner unmarked.
The goal finally arrived in the 26th minute. Timothy Castagne got in down the right and centred to where Mario Pasalic arrived, affording him the simple task of heading in.
He could have had a second about ten minutes later, too. Papu Gomez cross from the right and the Croatian, as he was always seeming to be, was the first onto it on the wrong side of the near post. He somehow looped a header up and across goal that dipped and bounced back off the post.
Jose Palomino and Mario Balotelli went head to head when the Argentinian took down the No.45. Referee Daniele Doveri managed it well though, opting not to issue a card to either, when another official might have been quick to go to their pocket.
The chances kept coming, but only at one end. Ilicic and Marten de Roon took their turns to shoot off target.
Andrea Cistana had the first attempt after the break as Brescia started to play towards their own fans, themselves having rediscovered their buoyancy after the break. Cistana’s low drive was stopped by Pierluigi Gollini though.
Balotelli had his first sight at goal from a freekick. From some distance he looked to trouble Gollini but the Atalanta goalkeeper was able to stop and hold it.
He then had a huge opening. Berat Djimsiti ventured forward without the ball hoping to meet a cross from the right but the move broke down and Brescia counterattacked. Balotelli found himself free at the back post and after taking a touch to set himself he rattled Gollini’s crossbar.
Pasalic got his second with the most delicate of finishes. Ilicic got in some space in the right of Brescia’s box and hit a low ball across goal that the No.88 flicked in from very close range.
Balotelli then worked Gollini, forcing the ‘keeper into a good low stop to keep Brescia out.
The game was killed in stoppage time when Josip Ilicic charged forward into space on a one-man counterattack and, having run the length of the pitch, he slotted home to silence the Rigamonti.