Defender Gianluca Mancini scored for a third consecutive game as Atalanta ended Inter Milan’s unbeaten run with a 4-1 victory on Sunday which sees Luciano Spalletti’s title-chasers drop from second to third in Serie A.
Mancini headed in after 62 minutes in Bergamo to add to Hans Hateboer’s eighth-minute opener, with Berat Djimsiti and Alejandro Gomez sealing all three points for the hosts late-on.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi had equalised when he slotted in a penalty just after the break, but his side finished with ten men after Marcelo Brozovic was sent off two minutes into injury time.
Inter slip three points behind second-placed Napoli, who came from behind to beat Genoa 2-1 on Friday.
Leaders Juventus play AC Milan at the San Siro later on Sunday looking to maintain their six-point advantage at the top of the league.
Roma got back to winning ways with a 4-1 success over Sampdoria to move up to sixth, within two points of the Champions League places behind AC Milan and Lazio, both in action later.
Spalletti’s Inter had been chasing their eighth consecutive league win but came up against a dogged Atalanta, who extended their winning run to four games, moving up to eighth to boost their Europa League hopes.
“Atalanta were stronger, we were not ready for the game,” said Spalletti, whose side held Barcelona 1-1 in the Champions League midweek.
“We paid for inconsistency and lapses in concentration.”
“We had a great game, with so many scoring opportunities,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperoni.
“It was a performance of great momentum and courage. We showed we could be competitive against the big teams.
“It’s an important push to keep going forward.”
– El Shaarawy brace –
The hosts dominated Inter from the outset on a muddy pitch in Bergamo and after Hateboer’s opener they could have been further ahead in northern Italy but for some fine Samit Handanovic saves.
Handanovic kept out a Duvan Zapata effort, and also shoved out a quickfire rebound from Dutch right-back Hateboer.
But Hateboer found the way through, tapping in a Robin Gosens cross, with Slovenian Josip Ilicic missing a chance for a second in front of goal after 22 minutes.
Inter had chances, with a wayward Ivan Persic header and a Brozovic volley going over the bar just before the break.
But Icardi drew Inter level after the break from the spot after Mancini handled in the penalty area.
Mancini made amends by heading in off an Ilicic free-kick, with another set-piece from the boot of the Slovenian midfielder setting up Djimsiti to head in as the clock ticked down.
Gomez finished off the rout two minutes after Croatian World Cup runner-up Brozovic was sent off for his second yellow card.
In the Stadio Olimpico, Roma followed their 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League with their first league success in a month.
Stephan El Shaarawy scored a second-half brace with Juan Jesus and Patrich Schick also on target as Sampdoria fell to a third straight defeat.
Rock-bottom Chievo earned a 2-2 draw at home against Bologna, to move onto zero points, having had three deducted for false accounting.