Atalanta 2-3 Inter: Dzeko double helps take Nerazzurri into top four

AFP

Two Edin Dzeko goals helped Inter move clear of Atalanta and into Serie A's top form with a 3-2 win at Bergamo going into the World Cup break.

Inter trailed to Ademola Lookman's penalty on Sunday, but Dzeko scored either side of half-time to swing the game back in the visitors' favour.

Dzeko's second effort benefited from a deflection off Joakim Maehle, and Atalanta helped the Nerazzurri out again when Jose Luis Palomino put through his own net for the third.

Although Palomino later scored at the right end, it was too little, too late, as Inter opened up a three-point gap to Atalanta, level on points with second-placed Lazio ahead of the rest of the day's action.

Atalanta had started the brighter of the two sides, with Duvan Zapata seeing a pair of early chances blocked before he was caught by Stefan de Vrij's outstretched leg for a penalty that Lookman cleanly converted.

The goal stunned Inter out of their torpor, pushing them onto the front foot, and they were rewarded with Dzeko's finish after the ball was helped into his path by a Lautaro Martinez header.

Atalanta had hoped to reassert their hold on the match following the interval but instead contributed to their own downfall as a combination of Dzeko and Maehle sent Inter in front from Federico Dimarco's cross.

Palomino then glanced an Inter corner past goalkeeper Juan Musso, meaning his own riposte – a diving header with 13 minutes to play – was not enough to recover an Atalanta result.

What does it mean? Inter sign off with win

With an unprecedented World Cup break to come, it is not yet clear how Europe's biggest and best club sides will respond when the action restarts.

But Inter have at least ended the first part of the campaign with some momentum behind them, winning six of their past seven matches – even if they are still 11 points shy of leaders Napoli.

Dzeko at the double

Dzeko's first goal was initially awarded as a Maehle own goal, but the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker is getting the credit, moving him to six league goals for the season and three in past two games after netting in the 6-1 midweek win over Bologna.

It is the first time in over a year Dzeko has scored in consecutive league games, last doing so in a sequence of four matches in October 2021.

Mixed fortunes for Palomino

Palomino atoned for his error by scoring to bring Atalanta back into the match, but his own goal had given the home side a mountain to climb.

He is the first Atalanta player to score a goal and an own goal in the same match since Robin Gosens versus Napoli in February 2021.

Key Opta Facts

– Inter have won six of their last seven Serie A matches (18 points); in this period, only Napoli (seven wins, 21 points) performed better. The Nerazzurri have also scored the most goals in this period (20).
– Atalanta have lost three Serie A home matches in a row for the first time since 1997 (four under Emiliano Mondonico).
– For the first time in his career, Lookman has scored seven goals in a single campaign.
– Gian Piero Gasperini is the third coach to reach 500 matches in Serie A in the three-points-for-a-win era, after Francesco Guidolin (545) and Luciano Spalletti (536).
– Simone Inzaghi reached 250 matches in Serie A as a coach. He has the most wins (143) in his first 250 games in the top flight in the last 35 seasons.

What's next?

Until the new year, nothing. Both teams have a handful of friendlies planned for December, but they do not return competitively until 2023, when Inter open at home to Napoli as Atalanta go to Spezia.