Atalanta rooted in Champions League zone after rally against Roma

Rome, Atalanta came back to a 2-1 home win against Roma in the Serie A on Saturday, strengthening their grip on the fourth available spot for next season's Champions League.

The Bergamaschi are the Serie A best scorers on 63 goals from 24 games; they are to meet Valencia in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday in their first ever participation, dpa reported.

Fifth-placed Roma suffered a third successive loss and sit in the two-team Europa League zone, six points behind Atalanta.

The Romans went up in the 45th with skipper Edin Dzeko striking after getting the better of a fumbling Jose Palomino, who levelled five minutes after the break, flicking in a Berat Djimsiti header.

Mario Pasalic's 59th-minute winner was a swerving drive that the Croat drilled into the top right corner less than one minute after coming on for a lacklustre Duvan Zapata.

The strength of this group is that we always strive to get more, home captain Alejandro Gomez said. Our goal is to get again in the Champions League. It is an event we love as it brings prestige to players and club.

This was a great win against a big team, one more step in our march. And it was a great gift for my (32nd) birthday. I hope to celebrate also against Valencia.

Genoa won 3-0 at nine-man Bologna but remained in the three-team drop zone despite a fourth game unbeaten.

Adama Soumaoro opened the scoring before the direct dismissal of Jerdy Schouten and Toni Sanabria struck after a devastating run one minute from the break.

Captain Domenico Criscito converted a late penalty after a foul from Stefano Denswil led to his dismissal with a second caution.

The third-last Genoese clinched a second straight win after two draws and now sit just one point off city rivals Sampdoria, who welcome Fiorentina on Sunday. Bologna are seventh, one point shy of the Europa League places.

Lecce beat bottom side SPAL 2-1 and moved two points above Samp.

Marco Mancosu put the hosts ahead with a penalty and Zan Majer finished a counter-attack after Andrea Petagna had scored a temporary equalizer for the visitors.

SPAL had earlier in the week appointed Luigi Di Biagio to take over as coach from Leonardo Semplici.

On Sunday, leaders Inter Milan (54) visit third-placed Lazio (53). Champions Juventus are level on points with Inter when they host second-last Brescia.

Source: Bahrain News Agency