This was the first game of 2022 for both clubs, as the Friulani saw their encounter with Fiorentina called off amid a COVID outbreak, while La Dea’s opponents Torino had the same issue. Under new quarantine rules, Udinese were allowed to play despite 12 players being out with COVID. Atalanta were affected too with three players out, although Juan Musso recovered. Duvan Zapata and Robin Gosens were injured, with Remo Freuler suspended.
Luis Muriel’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal and Rafael Toloi’s deflected prod from a corner grazed the upright.
Atalanta took the lead when a Giuseppe Pezzella cross came from the left and Mario Pasalic out-jumped defenders for a looping header from seven yards.
On the second, Muriel gathered from Ruslan Malinovskyi in midfield, ran forward, dribbled past Sebastien De Maio and scored with nonchalance.
Gerard Deulofeu attempted a fightback and sprinted past Jose Luis Palomino before forcing a save with the angled drive, then Destiny Udogie’s header went over the bar.
However, Atalanta added a third with a well-worked move, Muriel setting up Pezzella’s shot, which was charged down into the path of Malinovskyi from 12 yards.
Decimated Udinese still managed to get a consolation goal, as Nahuel Molina’s hopeful effort took a massive deflection off Berat Djimsiti to wrong-foot Musso.
Muriel completed his brace with another solo effort, skinning Sebastien De Maio one-on-one to score off the inside of the post. He was about to do his traditional dance celebration, but thought better of it against a side missing 12 players with COVID-19.
Beto got another consolation with a delicate dinked finish over Musso after the Isaac Success lay-off, but Aleksei Miranchuk got his second assist of the game by finding Joakim Maehle unmarked at the back post.
It still wasn’t over, Pessina steering into the bottom corner from the edge of the box in stoppages for the final 2-6 result.
Udinese 2-6 Atalanta
Pasalic 17 (A), Muriel 22, 76 (A), Malinovskyi 43 (A), Molina 59 (U), Beto 88 (U), Maehle 89 (A), Pessina 91 (A)