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Atalanta blitz Bologna to edge towards Champions League berth

Milan (AFP) – Atalanta blitzed Bologna with four goals in the opening 15 minutes to move to within one point of AC Milan and the final Champions League berth with a 4-1 win at home on Thursday.

But the side from Bergamo will be without top scorer Duvan Zapata for their clash Sunday against third-placed Inter Milan after the Colombian picked up a yellow card.

Josip Ilicic claimed a brace within the first five minutes with the Slovenian then crossing for Hans Hateboer to slot in the third after nine minutes.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure with Zapata adding a fourth after quarter of an hour for his 20th Serie A goal this season.

The Colombian had a goal disallowed after using his arm to control an Ilicic free kick into the net for which he received a yellow card.

“I was about to substitute Zapata and just waiting for the ball to go out of play, when he received that yellow card,” said coach Gian Piero Gasparini. 

“He’ll miss Inter which is unfortunate.”

Gasparini said it was too soon to talk of qualifying for the Champions League.

“We’re happy just to get back into Europe, maybe even through the Coppa Italia, which is also an important target for us. 

“We”ll see what happens. It doesn’t hurt to dream.”

“To talk about the Champions League we will need a few more weeks.”

Riccardo Orsolini pulled a goal back for Bologna after 54 minutes as they return to the relegation zone.

Sassuolo inflicted another defeat on bottom club Chievo with Turkey’s Merih Demiral scoring a double in a 4-0 win to move 11th.

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