Atalanta 1 – 0 Crotone
Empoli 1 – 2 Lazio
- Empoli 1 – 2 Lazio
Lazio fought back from a Rade Krunic scorcher with Ciro Immobile and Keita Balde Diao’s deflected effort for their first Empoli success in over 11 years.
Lazio had a surprisingly poor record at the Stadio Castellani, losing their last three Serie A visits with one point from four attempts, not winning here since a 3-2 thriller in November 2005.
Lazio were made to pay for their many wasted opportunities when Krunic unleashed a missile from 25 metres that swerved viciously in the air towards the near top corner, surprising Strakosha. Empoli had taken the lead with one of their only genuine shots on target.
However, the visitors reacted immediately, as within 60 seconds they were all square again. Felipe Anderson’s cross was deflected up into the air and Immobile showed good strength to get in front of Giuseppe Bellusci and poke home from eight yards.
Daniele Croce went off with a muscular problem and Lazio turned the game around completely with a stroke of luck. Felipe Anderson’s through ball was deflected and Keita Balde Diao’s volley from eight yards ricocheted in off Costa’s arm.
- Atalanta 1 – 0 Crotone
Atalanta found it far tougher than expected to get the better of Crotone, as Andrea Conti’s tap-in and the offside flag was the only difference.
The Orobici were in fourth place, level on points with the mighty Inter, and Europe was more than just a pipe dream for Gian Piero Gasperini’s men. Abdoulay Konko missed out, while relegation-threatened Crotone again lost Marcus Rohden to injury.
The Squali had beaten Atalanta only once in their previous five meetings, 1-0 in Serie B in October 2005, followed by three losses and a 2-2 draw.
Before kick-off there were beautiful scenes as the ultras paid tribute to Federico Pisani, the player who died with his girlfriend in a car crash 20 years ago.
The half-time team talk must’ve worked, because Atalanta immediately looked more alert and determined. It paid off, as Petagna rolled across the six-yard box for Andrea Conti to tap in the opening goal within three minutes of the restart.
Kessie almost made it 2-0 on 79 minutes, as he burst between two defenders and the dinked finish over the goalkeeper shaved a coat of paint off the far post.