Atalanta endured a miserable first game in the Champions League as they lost 4-0 to a Mislav Orsic-inspired Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.
Orsic struck a fine hat-trick after Marin Leovac’s opener to bring a stylish end to a run of 11 consecutive defeats in the competition for the Croatian champions.
Often one of Serie A’s most exciting teams last season as they famously secured a place in Europe’s elite tournament for the first time, Atalanta produced next to nothing in attack and were exposed all too easily at the back in a humbling defeat.
Dani Olmo’s brilliant run led to Leovac’s opener, the full-back converting Petar Stojanovic’s cross from the right from barely six yards out.
Atalanta’s susceptibility at the back was punished again 31 minutes in, Orsic side-footing home a fine finish from the edge of the box after more good work from Olmo and Leovac.
Dinamo fans were in raptures before the break, Stojanovic providing another telling cross that was diverted back across goal by Arijan Ademi, giving Orsic the simple task of nodding the ball into the net.
There was something of an Atalanta response after the interval, with Mario Pasalic volleying wide from a good position, but the miss was about the best Gian Piero Gasperini’s side could muster.
Orsic compounded their misery and made it a night to remember for Dinamo, slotting in his third goal in confident fashion after Kevin Theophile-Catherine’s hopeful ball caught out the entire Atalanta back line.
Duvan Zapata at last had a couple of openings but Dominik Livakovic produced a brilliant one-handed save to deny the striker before he prodded wide when played clean through.
Where will they finish in Group C? pic.twitter.com/SV8TQt9JZv
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 18, 2019
What does it mean? Dinamo steal march in race for second
With Manchester City expected to win Group C comfortably, Dinamo, Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk are effectively in a three-way battle for the other qualification spot.
Dinamo certainly look the most likely to take it if they can build on this performance. They were clinical going for
ward and resolute defensively against a team that scored 77 goals in the Italian top flight last season.
Awesome Orsic unstoppable
Atalanta could not cope with the movement of Dinamo’s front three, particularly on the break. Orsic was the pick of the attack and his first goal in particular was an outstanding finish.
Not one Atalanta player turned in a positive performance, but Rafael Toloi was especially weak at the back, unable to control Olmo and caught out of position for the fourth goal.
Key Opta Facts
– Dinamo Zagreb ended a run of 11 successive Champions League losses with victory over Atalanta, recording their largest margin of victory in the competition.
– Atalanta are the 10th Italian side to play in the Champions League – this is the biggest defeat any team from Italy have faced on their debut.
– Atalanta conceded with the very first shot on target that they faced in their Champions League history.
– Mislav Orsic is the first Dinamo player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League and the first Dinamo player to score more than once on debut.
– Dinamo left-back Marin Leovac scored his first Champions League goal in what was his first appearance in the competition since playing for FK Austria Wien in November 2013.
Dinamo, who face Varazdin in the league on Saturday, travel to Manchester City in their second group game, when Atalanta host Shakhtar.
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