Atalanta made a bit of history on Thursday night by becoming the first Serie A team since Juventus to score four goals inside the opening 15 minutes.
Slovenian midfielder Josip Ilicic set Atalanta on their way by scoring a brace within the first five minutes of the match against Bologna.
The 31-year-old then turned provider in the ninth-minute to set-up Hans Hateboer for Atalanta’s third goal. Remo Freuler later teed up Duvan Zapata for his 20th league goal of the campaign just six minutes later.
It marked the first time since Juventus against AS Roma in March 1932 that a Serie A team had scored four times in 15 minutes.
While Bologna did get one back through Riccardo Orsolini’s long-range shot, it proved to be nothing more than a mere consolation as Atalanta cruised to a remarkable victory in Bergamo.
Speaking afterwards, Gasperini expressed his delight with the way his players responded from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Chievo Verona in their last home game.
“We started in extraordinary fashion and scored four splendid goals in just 15 minutes, very different to the way we approached the game with Chievo,” the Atalanta boss told Sky Sport Italia.
“That draw really hurt and we didn’t want to get it wrong again. Having said that, doing this well was beyond our expectations.”
⚽ Josip Iličić | 3'
⚽ Josip Iličić | 5'
⚽ Hans Hateboer | 9'
⚽ Duván Zapata | 15'
With their early outburst against Bologna, Atalanta became the first side to score 4️⃣ times in the first 1️⃣5️⃣ minutes of Serie A match since 1️⃣9️⃣3️⃣2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/BPshO7ceUu
— Goal (@goal) April 5, 2019
Following their 4-1 demolition of Bologna, Atalanta are now just a point off fourth-place AC Milan in the Serie A table.
They’ve also got the return leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final tie against Fiorentina to look forward to on April 25 at home, with the aggregate scoreline level at 3-3.
“It is not our objective,” admitted Gasperini.
“We play the way we know how and there are many games to go, so before talking like that we’d have to wait a few more weeks.
“Many are hoping. We’re happy just to get back into Europe, maybe even via the Coppa Italia, which is also an important target for us. We’ll see what happens. It doesn’t hurt to dream.”
Atalanta will next take a trip to the San Siro on Sunday, where Inter Milan will be awaiting them.