Petagna ignites minnows SPAL comeback to shock Atalanta - GulfToday

Petagna ignites minnows SPAL comeback to shock Atalanta


Petagna pulled SPAL level against Atlanta by scoring his fifth goal in four matches.

Andrea Petagna inspired SPAL to a come-from-behind 2-1 win against his former team Atlanta in an Italian League match on Monday.

Atlanta came into the game on the back of two huge victories, beating AC Milan and Parma with a score-lines of 5-0 each.

But they faltered against minnows SPAL, who just moved off the bottom of the standings with their fourth victory of the season.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s team spurned the chance to climb above arch-rivals Roma into the final Champions League place, and are now three points behind the side from the capital in fifth.

“Today more than a few players were not at their best,” said Gasperini.

“It was clear we were down a gear.  But we will have to be ready to immediately redeem a bad performance, because the standings are very tight.”

Slovenian forward Josip Ilicic darted the opening goal to put Atalanta ahead after 16 minutes with a clever back-heel flick beating Etrit Berisha in the SPAL goal. But Petagna pulled SPAL level after 54 minutes by scoring his fifth goal in four meetings against his former club. Mattia Valoti snatched the winner six minutes later with new signing Bryan Dabo playing a role in the goal on his first start for SPAL.

 Duvan Zapata missed chances to equalise for the hosts following a long injury layoff with fellow Colombian forward Luis Muriel coming on for the final half an hour in place of defender Mattia Caldara, who started on his return on loan from AC Milan. But despite laying siege to the SPAL goal the hosts fell to their fifth defeat of the season and fourth at home.

Gasperini’s side have the best attack in the league with 50 goals scored in 20 games. But he had conceded that his players were suffering from fatigue after their surprise elimination from the Italian Cup by Fiorentina.

Atalanta are playing their first season in the Champions League and host Valencia in the last 16, first leg at San Siro on Feb.19.

Champions Juventus beat Parma 2-1 to open up a four-point advantage on second-placed Inter Milan who were held 1-1 at promoted Lecce on Sunday. Lazio are third, a further two points behind with a game in hand, after hammering Sampdoria 5-1 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Italian Serie A side Lazio has ordered 16 fans caught making Fascists salutes at a home game to contribute to paying a fine imposed by UEFA over the incident.

Italian sports paper Corriere dello Sport said individual letters had been sent to the fans banning them for three matches and demanding a contribution to financial losses incurred by the club.

Agence France-Presse