Atalanta Bergamo – US Sassuolo: Fantastic Atalanta Comeback Results in First Champions League Campaign in 111-year History (3-1)
After finding it difficult to break through US Sassuolo’s 4-4-2 diamond defensive shape, Atalanta Bergamo adapted, pressed and played some gorgeous football to make a historic comeback, in the final matchday of the Serie A season. The result means that Atalanta will enter the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, scoring the most goals in the league and finishing above both Milan clubs.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Having maintained an incredible twelve match unbeaten run, Atalanta went into this game in the driving seat for Champions League football next season. However, the perfect picture had every opportunity to be ruined by fourth-placed Internazionale level on points with Atalanta and AC Milan within inches off a place in Europe’s top competition next season. With defenders Hans Hateboer and Rafael Tolói ruled out, Gian Piero Gasperini made two changes at the back, with José Luis Palomino and Berat Djimsiti coming in. Despite being a doubt going into the final game of the season, Josip Iličić passed fit to start, a player who has been a pivotal part of Atalanta’s 3-4-1-2 free-flowing system.
Sassuolo’s finish to the season had much less at stake, a disappointing season for a team filled with young prospects. Roberto De Zerbi’s team had seen just nine victories all season prior to their away trip to the Mapei Stadium – the temporary home for Atalanta during stadium reconstructions, which also happens to be their own stadium...
Sassuolo made three changes, Andrea Consigli was replaced by the veteran goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo, playing his final . . .