Genoa 3-4 Atalanta: Atalanta win seven-goal thriller to qualify for Champions League

Duvan Zapata-Robin Gosens-Genoa vs Atalanta

Atalanta have become the second Serie A team to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League after a dramatic win over Genoa on Saturday. 

The win, which qualified them for their third Champions League appearances in a row, came in dramatic fashion, with four goals coming from substitutes with six different nationalities finding the net.

Duvan Zapata, Ruslan Malinoviskiy and Robin Gosens all scored in the first half to give Atalanta a three-goal lead in the first half. Eldor Shomurodov pulled one back for the hosts shortly after the restart before Mario Pasalic restored the visitors three-goal advantage in the 51st minute.

However, the hosts fought back and nearly got an equaliser, but Goran Pandev’s 67th-minute penalty and Eldor Shomurodov second goal in the 87th minute was all they could muster as the hosts clung on for the precious three points. 

Here are three talking points from all entertaining game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Atalanta are now an established top-four team

In qualifying for the Champions League for the third season in a row, it is safe to say that Atalanta are now an excellent top-four team in Serie A.

The Black and Blues have borne the tag of an upcoming team in the past four years. But one cannot put them in that bracket any longer as they have proven to be a more established side these days, better than traditional big hitters like Roma and Lazio. 

This year’s win could be even more special as Juventus, one of the teams still spearheading the doomed European Super League, are in danger of missing out entirely from the Champions League, showing the dynamic nature of football.

Attack-Attack-Attack – Atalanta Principle

Atalanta are built for attack. It is that simple. 

The team from Bergamo are fun to watch and have proven that their game is designed with ‘attack’ in mind. They are Serie A’s top-scoring team and are only behind Bayern Munich for goals scored in Europe’s top five leagues. 

Even when they are losing, they don’t sit back to soak up pressure. They have now made three consecutive seasons where they have been Serie A top-scoring side. 

They have scored 110 goals this season in all competitions, with 90 scored in league with two games to play. Eleven League games have seen them score four or more goals this season.

Gasperini is a magician 

After landing Inter Milan’s first Serie A title in ten years, it will be right to name Antonio Conte the best coach in the Serie A.

But considering how much Gian Piero Gasperini has achieved with this team, it is impossible to overlook him when making the judgement. What the 63-year-old is doing is incredible when his team’s wage bill is put into consideration.

While teams like Inter Milan, Juventus and Roma boast a very talented squad full of top earners, Atalanta is operating a modest wage bill outside of the Italian league’s top ten. 

Gasperini’s side currently have an annual salary bill of €41m – the 11th highest in Serie A, less than Cagliari & Torino. In comparison, Juventus’ salary bill is €236m while Inter is €149m. 

While the likes of Roma and Juventus are struggling, Gasperini continues to rise. He has moulded average players into world beaters and is doing so without spending so much. 

It isn’t easy to imagine what he could have done if the resources were available.