Ademola Lookman helped Atalanta take temporary lead of Serie A with the decisive goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sassuolo, while Dusan Vlahovic fired crisis-club Juventus to a 1-0 success over Torino.
Nigeria forward Lookman continued his positive start to life in Italy seconds after half-time in Bergamo with his third goal in as many games which gave fans celebrating Atalanta’s 115th birthday more reason to party.
His strike at the Gewiss Stadium moved Atalanta a point ahead of Napoli, who can reclaim the summit with a home win over Bologna on Sunday evening.
Lookman, 24, clipped a neat finish into the top corner after collecting Brandon Soppy’s pass to net for the fourth time this term and maintain an unbeaten start to the season for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side.
“It was Atalanta’s birthday today so it was an important day for us and for us to get the three points, we’re very happy with that,” Lookman told DAZN.
“I’m glad to be getting these opportunities and hopefully I can keep on putting them in the back of the net.”
Atalanta claimed the three points also thanks to Mario Pasalic, who levelled in the final minute of the first half with a well-taken first goal of the season, shortly after Giorgos Kyriakopoulos had opened the scoring for Sassuolo with an unstoppable volley.
Alessio Dionisi’s Sassuolo, who sit ninth, gave a good account of themselves and were unlucky to not equalise just after the hour mark.
Substitute Domenico Berardi almost marked his first appearance since late August with a stunning goal in the 63rd minute when he let rip with a powerful inswinging effort which smashed out off the underside of the bar.
However the Italy forward succumbed to a thigh injury again with 11 minutes remaining, leaving the field with his shirt covering his face after completing less than a quarter of the match, and the hosts had no problems seeing out their seventh win of the campaign.
Vlahovic saves Juve
Juve went into Saturday’s Turin derby reeling from Champions League humiliation at the hands of Maccabi Haifa, but Vlahovic gave his boss Massimiliano Allegri some breathing room despite another poor team display against a Torino side who had no available strikers.
Serbia forward Vlahovic pushed in the winner with 15 minutes remaining to give Juve their first away win this season and allow his teammates to leave in better spirits a training camp imposed by the club following an awful start to the season.
“Difficult times help you to grow, you learn more from these periods than from when everything goes well,” Vlahovic told DAZN.
“Whether I play well or not, I make sure that I give everything, every time.”
Vlahovic’s strike was his seventh of the season in all competitions for Juve who are seventh, eight points behind Atalanta.
“Today the boys showed that they are a team. They played well and I’m happy for them… It wasn’t easy,” Allegri said.
“It’s a shame we’ve had such a hard time recently but sometimes things happen about which you can’t do very much, then you get stuck in situations that you need to break out from. Today was the first baby step towards that.”
Torino sit 11th on 11 points after collecting just one point from their last five fixtures, in which they have scored twice.
They would have leapfrogged Juve with a win but instead are level with Empoli, who earlier ended Monza’s three-match winning run with a 1-0 win which came thanks to Nicolas Haas.
It was the first loss for Monza coach Raffaele Palladino, who had won his first three matches as Monza coach after replacing Giovanni Stroppa last month.
Monza, who were repeatedly denied by Empoli’s impressive goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, stay five points above the relegation zone in their first ever season in Serie A.