With a win against Roma last week Saturday evening’s game against mid-table Torino served as a prime opportunity for Atalanta to re-enter the race for a Champions League berth next season. Meanwhile, Torino are coming off the back of an impressive upset win over Lazio, but have struggled offensively as of late – managing only 3 goals in their last 5 matches. Atalanta remain undefeated in their last six encounters against Torino.
Torino are led by forward Antonio Sanabria, who has bagged 2 goals in his last 4 matches but has struggled to consistently perform this season. Atalanta on the other hand would have to rely on midfielder Teun Koopmeiners, who leads the team in chances created.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side elected to switch to 3-5-1-1 for this match, with Koopmeiners dropping back to central midfield, while Duvan Zapata was replaced upfront by Rasmus Højlund. Ivan Juric’s Torino side made several changes in attack with Valentino Lazaro replacing Wilfried Singo on the right wing. Yann Karamoh and Aleksey Miranchuk replaced Nemanja Radonjic and Nikola Vlasic in attacking midfield.
TOR: Milinkovic-Savic; Buongiorno, Schuurs, Djidji; Rodriguez, Ilic, Linetty, Lazaro; Karamoh, Miranchuk; Sanabria
ATA: Sportiello; Scalvini, Djimsiti, Toloi; Zappacosta, Koopmeiners, de Roon, Éderson, Mæhle; Pasalic; Højlund
After an unexciting 30 minutes of play, Davide Zappacosta went on an incredible run down the left wing, finishing it off with a stunning, tight-angled shot that squeezed by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to give Atalanta the lead.
Nikola Vlasic was subbed on at the beginning of the second half and sent a strike at goal from outside the box, which was easily saved by Marco Sportiello.
Twenty minutes later, following a free kick that was headed out of the box, Torino’s attacking midfielder Miranchuk tried a low drive from far outside the box, which Sportiello saved, but the rebound was easily sent in by Sanabria, equalising the score for Torino.
Atalanta were now desperately trying to find the winning goal, and they would get a chance minutes later. Following a bad pass, Éderson dribbled through two defenders to send a tight-angled shot that was saved by Milinkovic-Savic.
But Atalanta kept piling on the pressure. Minutes later, after a blocked clearance, substitute Luis Muriel ran down the left wing, finding Zappacosta in the box. He rifled an effort at goal, but it landed calmly in Milinkovic-Savic’s arms.
In the 87th minute though, Atalanta bagged their winner. Zappacosta found substitute Duvan Zapata on the left wing, who raced Schuurs down the left side of the box before cutting back inside with a beautiful move that sent the Dutchman to the ground. He then nailed a beautiful shot that ended up in the back of the net, with Milinkovic-Savic beaten.
Torino began searching for an equalizer, but they were unable to find one – and it was Atalanta that picked up three points at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
A late win here means that Atalanta now sit sixth in the Serie A table, in a guaranteed European qualification spot. They’re now only 2 points behind 4th place Milan – and Champions League qualification – with six matches remaining in the season.
On the other hand, Torino entered the game-week in the top half but now sit in 11th. Pending the results of Sassuolo’s match tomorrow, could possibly end up in 12th at the end of game-week 32.