Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic scored a freekick from near the halfway line, one of the most remarkable Serie A goals of the season, to cap a hat-trick as they won 7-0 away to a sorry Torino side who finished with nine men on Saturday.
Free-scoring Atlanta were already 3-0 ahead when they won a freekick around two metres inside the Torino half in the 53rd minute. Two Torino players backed away and Ilicic, seeing Salvatore Sirigu off his line, floated the ball over the startled goalkeeper and into the net.
“I saw they were out of position, my first idea was to go for goal and it went in. I was lucky, but you need that in football,” he said.
The Slovenian opened the scoring in the 17th minute from close range after Jose Palomino won possession and rolled the ball across the face of the goal.
Robin Gosens volleyed the second 12 minutes later and Duvan Zapata converted a penalty, awarded for a tug on Ilicic, just before halftime as Atalanta quickly put Monday’s shock home defeat by SPAL behind them.
Ilicic was mobbed by his team mates after scoring his stunning freekick effort and, one minute later, completed his hat-trick after getting behind the Torino defence to take his league tally for the season to 13.
Luis Muriel added two more late in the game, the first a penalty, while Torino’s frustration boiled over as Armando Izzo was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 76th minute and Sasa Lukic was given a straight red card in the 89th.
Atalanta, Serie A’s leading scorers with 57 goals, pulled level on 38 points with fourth-placed AS Roma who play Lazio on Sunday. It was Torino’s first seven-goal home defeat in their Serie A history.
“If we were like this in every game, we’d be up near the top of the table,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
His opposite number Walter Mazzarri apologised for a performance which led many home fans to walk out.
“Nothing worked… it was an indefensible performance, there is nothing more to say,” said Mazzarri, who refused to take questions and said his team would go into a training camp.
Earlier, Genoa fullback Domenico Criscito missed a penalty for the first time in his career as the relegation-threatened side drew 0-0 at Fiorentina.
Criscito, who had previously converted all 13 penalties, saw his effort saved by Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski who pulled off several other good saves as they remained unbeaten under new coach Giuseppe Iachini.
SPAL, Genoa and Brescia are all level on 15 points in the bottom three positions following SPAL’s 3-1 home defeat by Bologna.