Milan (AFP) – Duvan Zapata scored a hat-trick as Atalanta destroyed lowly Lecce 7-2 on Sunday to strengthen their grip on the Champions League spots in a Serie A weekend ravaged by the coronavirus outbreak.
Eleven days after they thrashed Valencia in their last match Gian Pier Gasperini’s side showed why they are considered one of the most exciting teams in Europe with a breathtaking second half display that blitzed their promoted opponents.
They sit fourth, six points ahead of Roma before the capital city club take on Cagliari in Sardinia later and the same number of points behind third-placed Inter Milan, whose marquee clash with title rivals Juventus was one of five matches postponed this weekend due to the spread of COVID-19.
Atalanta’s travelling fans, most of whom will have arrived in Lecce from Lombardy, the country’s virus hotspot, had to have their temperatures checked before they were allowed to enter the Stadio Via del Mare.
The teams went into the break level as Lecce defender Giulio Donati made it 2-2 in the 40th minute.
Donati had given the away side the lead early when he headed into his own net under no pressure whatsoever.
However the second period was one-way traffic once Josip Ilicic classily slotted home his side’s third, and Zapata — who headed home Atalanta’s second midway through the first half — completed his treble with two goals in eight minutes to seal the three points.
Luis Muriel then made it six with three minutes left when he scored on the rebound after his own shot bounced out off the post, and Ruslan Malinovskyi completed the rout in stoppage time.
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