Atalanta knocked Lazio out of the Coppa Italia after a thrilling 3-2 victory, despite playing a man down for over half-an-hour and seeing Duvan Zapata’s penalty saved.
Curiously, these teams will face off here again in Serie A on Sunday afternoon, so both coaches adopted squad rotation. Some decisions were also forced, with Hans Hateboer and Mario Pasalic absent for the hosts, Felipe Caicedo, Luis Alberto, Luiz Felipe and suspended Lucas Leiva out for the Aquile.
La Dea came pouring forward from the start and broke through within seven minutes, as Pepe Reina made a great one-handed save on Jose Luis Palomino, but couldn’t do much about Berat Djimsiti’s tap-in, especially as Vedat Muriqi’s clearance was more of an assist.
Reina was called into action again immediately on Luis Muriel, but Lazio got their equaliser and redemption for Muriqi, not to mention his first goal for the club.
Francesco Acerbi floated in a cross and Muriqi out-jumped the centre-backs to steer his header back into the far top corner.
Acerbi then turned the game around with an extraordinary goal for a centre-back, as he slalomed through defenders to prod home from nine yards with a wonderful individual effort.
Just 120 seconds later, Atalanta got back on level terms, as Muriel went on a mazy run down the right, turned Wesley Hoedt inside out and pulled back to find Ruslan Malinovskyi unmarked to drill home.
It should’ve been 3-2 for Atalanta going into the break, but Cristian Romero fired over from six yards on a flicked-on corner, as two teammates both went for the ball.
Lazio replaced booked Patric and Mohamed Fares for the second half, putting Marco Parolo in defence. Aleksei Miranchuk’s free header was straight at Reina, but the game changed when Jose Luis Palomino received a straight red card for pushing Manuel Lazzari as he sprinted towards goal. He was just outside the area and Palomino did not seem to be last man, so considering that a clear scoring opportunity was perhaps excessive.
Nonetheless, Atalanta still restored their lead when down to 10 men. Romero caught Hoedt in possession to spark the counter and Miranchuk squirmed his finish beneath on-rushing Reina.
Duvan Zapata came off the bench and was immediately brought down by a clumsy and unnecessary Hoedt tackle for a penalty. The Colombian stepped up, but Reina smothered the penalty on the line.
Ciro Immobile was thrown on and Muriqi tested Pierluigi Gollini, but Atalanta defended stoutly and there were few genuine shots on goal.
They created one big chance from a set play, Acerbi’s header from the free kick clawed out of the near top corner by Gollini.
Muriqi then fired over the bar, but was offside anyway, and Lazzari volleyed off target, though Duvan Zapata again nearly scored with a deflected strike from midfield landing on the roof of the net in stoppages.
Atalanta 3-2 Lazio
Djimsiti 7 (A), Muriqi 17 (L), Acerbi 34 (L), Malinovskyi 37 (A), Miranchuk 57 (A)
Atalanta: Gollini; Djimsiti, Romero, Palomino; Maehle (Caldara 88), Freuler, Pessina, Gosens; Malinovskyi (Duvan Zapata 59), Miranchuk (De Roon 59); Muriel (Toloi 62)
Lazio: Reina; Patric (Parolo 46), Hoedt (Immobile 70), Acerbi; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Escalante (Correa 62), Akpa Akpro, Fares (Lazzari 46); Pereira (Lulic 81), Muriqi
Sent off: Palomino 53 (A)
Saved penalty: Duvan Zapata 66 (A)