Atalanta claimed a place in the Champions League second round at the first time of asking with a 3-0 win against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday evening.
Second-half goals from Timothy Castagne, Mario Pasalic and Robin Gosens were enough to give La Dea a victory on an evening where they struggled to create chances despite the scoreline.
At the start of the evening qualification for the second round appeared unlikely for La Dea, but their victory coupled with Manchester City’s win against Dinamo Zagreb in the other game in the group ensured that they would reach the knockout stages in the club’s first ever Champions League appearance.
La Dea’s Alejandro Gomez would get the first two opportunities of the game inside the opening 15 minutes, but his inability to make Andriy Pyatov work in the Shakhtar goal on either occasion kept the scores deadlocked.
The hosts appeared to have punished Gomez’s missed chances when only moments later they looked as if they had taken the lead. Viktor Kovalenko’s strike from the edge of the box found the top corner only for a late flag for offside in the build up to rule out the goal.
Shakhtar were looking the more dangerous of the two teams as the first-half went on and Atalanta struggled to get a foothold in the game despite having an equal share of possession. With the exception of a Luis Muriel free-kick that sailed high and wide of Pyatov’s goal La Dea failed to create any meaningful chances before half-time.
Junior Moraes would get the final chance of the opening stanza for either side in the 37th minute as he climbed above La Dea’s back line to meet a cross, but his header from 10-yards out was tipped over the bar by a fantastic Pierluigi Gollini save.
The break had galvanised the men from Bergamo and they appeared to pose more of an attacking threat with Gomez looking to run at the Shakhtar back line at every given opportunity.
Gomez would be at the centre of things when La Dea opened the scoring on 66-minutes. It was his ball across the Shakhtar box that found Castagne six yards out and the Belgian bundled the ball past Pyatov to give the visitors the lead. A long VAR check followed as Gomez appeared to be offside in the build up but the technology showed he had remained onside by the tightest of margins.
Shakhtar were then reduced to ten men with 15 minutes to go when Dodo was given a straight red card for an innocuous looking challenge and only moments later La Dea would double their advantage.
The Shakhtar defence failed to react to a free-kick in to their box and Pasalic was left completely unmarked to poke home his sides second goal of the evening ending the game as a contest.
Gosens would capitalise on a horrible defensive mistake by Taras Stepanenko deep in to stoppage time to put the result beyond doubt and guarantee qualification for La Dea.