Atalanta’s never-say-die attitude was rewarded again on Wednesday evening as they completed yet another comeback to deliver a blow to Lazio’s title hopes, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win in Bergamo.
It was Simone Inzaghi’s side who completed a comeback when the sides met at the Stadio Olimpico back in October, turning the Nerazzurri’s 3-0 lead at the break into a 3-3 draw, but Gian Piero Gasperini – though suspended on the night – got his revenge.
Much like Atalanta did at the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio took advantage of their hosts’ hospitality early on and raced into an early lead, with their first goal came courtesy of Atalanta’s own Marten de Roon.
Manuel Lazzari got free down the right and put the ball into the box where the Dutchman raced to meet it but, facing his own goal, he awkwardly swung a right foot at it and diverted it out of Pierluigi Gollini’s reach.
One became two with just 10 minutes on the clock, this time through Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. A swift move forward looked to have broken down when the ball scrambled to the Serb’s feet about 25 yards from goal, but he shifted it onto his right foot and dispatched a fine strike that Gollini could do little to stop.
Ciro Immobile came within inches of a third as he fizzed a low effort just wide of the foot of the post.
Lazio then had to try to keep Atalanta out and Thomas Strakosha did well to deny Alejandro Papu Gomez before Duvan Zapata turned the rebound wide.
Ruslan Malinovskyi also tested the Albanian, but the ‘keeper got down to keep the Ukrainian’s low effort out before Robin Gosens halved the deficit.
Duvan Zapata held things up before laying off for Hans Hateboer. The Dutchman planted a cross onto Gosens’ head, with the latter doing well to get power on his effort to find the bottom corner.
Zapata’s hold-up play was again used to tee up Berat Djimsiti early in the second half but the defender’s shot flew wide when he would have expected to find the net.
Lazio continued to soak up yet more home pressure and had been doing well until Malinovskyi stepped up with one of his trademark strikes.
Much like Sergej’s first half goal, Atalanta appeared to have missed a chance when it fell to their No.18 and he, from a similar rang to Lazio’s No.21, thumped a fierce shot into the top corner of Strakosha’s goal.
Substitutes Luis Muriel and Josip Ilicic were the next to threaten. A one-two set Ilicic mazing through Lazio’s backline before the ball fell to the Colombian whose shot deflected over.
From the resulting corner Papu Gomez teased Strakosha into coming to gather but he misjudged the ball’s flight and allowed Jose Luis Palomino to head into an empty goal to give the Bergamaschi their first lead of the night.
Papu Gomez and Muriel had opportunities to kill the game off in stoppage time but Strakosha got a strong hand down to keep the No.10 out moments before the No.9 had two chances blocked.