New-look Atalanta wins 2-0 at Verona in Serie A

MILAN — A new-look Atalanta side won 2-0 at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday to boost its chances of qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

Atalanta dominated after introducing a surprise new tactical system with Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duván Zapata scoring in the first half to help the team consolidate fourth place.

It moved five points above Roma and Napoli, which face each other in the Italian capital later.

Second-place AC Milan was also playing later, and will be hoping to close the gap to Serie A leader Inter Milan with a win at struggling Fiorentina. If it fails, Juventus can move above it when it hosts Benevento.

In Verona, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini changed his formation, using four at the back for the first time since 2016.

His side dominated and eventually found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute when Verona defender Federico Dimarco handled in the box and Malinovskyi placed the resulting penalty into the bottom left corner.

Zapata almost doubled Atalanta’s lead shortly after but his effort was deflected onto the left post.

The Colombia forward did score three minutes from halftime when he outsprinted Matteo Lovato before placing an angled drive past Verona goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and into the empty net.

Atalanta thought it had extended its lead shortly after the hour mark when Cristian Romero fired in a Malinovskyi free kick. It turned out he controlled the ball with his arm and it was disallowed for handball.

Josip Iličić also hit the crossbar in stoppage time for Atalanta.

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