Making history in the world of football is difficult at the best of times, but in an era where money is such an overriding feature and factor of the game, it can become nearly impossible. If you want to go out there and take the bull by the horns then you need to do so with no fear whatsoever, and when you talk about a side like Atalanta, it’s clear for all to see that they have absolutely no fear in their hearts or minds.
Heading into the final day of the Serie A season, Atalanta knew that they just needed to stay focused on their own game and see what happened elsewhere after the final time whistle had blown. A win would ensure they were in the driving seat in the race for a Champions League spot, but of course, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Roma would be waiting to pounce if they were unable to live up to their end of the bargain.
Things didn’t really get off to the best of starts for the Bergamo-based side, as Berardi gave Sassuolo the lead less than twenty minutes into the game. Thankfully for Atalanta they didn’t panic, and thankfully for Atalanta they also had plenty of time left in which they could claw their way back into the game. That’s exactly what they did courtesy of Zapata who drew them level 10 minutes before the break, which is how the scoreline remained prior to the second half.
Signed, sealed, delivered
It was at that point when Atalanta started to stretch their legs a little bit, as Gomez and Pasalic scored within 12 minutes of each other to really put themselves in the driving seat. They just needed to shut up shop defensively from that point on, which is exactly what they did.
This is the first time ever that Atalanta has been able to qualify for the Champions League, which is the definition of a remarkable achievement. Sassuolo won’t be too disheartened by a mid-table finish, but they’ll want to grow and improve – as will Atalanta – over the course of the summer transfer window.
Atalanta: Gollini (6.5), Palomino (7), Djimsiti (7), Masiello (6.5), Gosens (7), Freuler (7), Roon (7), Castagne (6.5), Gomez (8.5), Zapata (7.5), Ilicic (7), Mancini (6), Rossi (6), Pasalic (7.5)
Sassuolo: Pegolo (6), Lirola (6.5), Demiral (7), Ferrari (6.5), Rogerio (6), Bourabia (7), Magnanelli (4), Duncan (7), Berardi (6.5), Locatelli (6.5), Boga (7), Raspadori (6), Djuricic (6), Sernicola (6)
Goals: Zapata, Gomez, Pasalic :: Berardi
Yellow Cards: Roon, Ilicic, Magnanelli x2, Ferrari, Rogerio
Red Cards: Berardi, Magnanelli
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