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Napoli vs Atalanta – Serie A battle for 3rd place ends 2-2

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As the battle for 3rd place in Serie A takes shape, two of the main contenders Napoli and Atalanta fought out a 2-2 draw.

It appeared that Napoli had taken Carlo Ancelotti’s rallying cry to heart. The hosts took the game to their challengers from the first whistle.

Kalidou Koulibaly had a goal-bound header saved in the opening minute.

Arkadiusz Milik had a shot on target saved only one minute later.

The game was an open affair, with Atalanta also creating opportunities, but perhaps not quite as clear cut as their counterparts.

Napoli had announced earlier that Malcuit had completed successful knee surgery, and they already have Kostas Manolas, Elseid Hysaj, and Faouzi Ghoulam out injured.

So when Carlo Ancelotti lost Allan in the 11th minute to injury the Italian tactician will have been seriously concerned.

But in the 16th minute, Napoli got the opening goal with Maksimovic heading them ahead.

They could have doubled their lead in the 22nd minute.

The Atalanta defense went AWOL, and a totally unmarked Milik hit the upright with a free header from very close range.

The visitors made Ancelotti’s men pay for the wasted opportunity in the 41st minute.

Remo Freuler broke through the defensive line, to go one on one with Meret in the Napoli goal.

Freuler put the ball through the keeper’s legs.

Halftime: Napoli 1 – 1 Atalanta

In the 71st Milik finally got it all right, and restored his sides lead.

Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Assisted by Fabián Ruiz played a through ball, for Milik to latch on to, he rounded the keeper and Gollini and put the ball in the back of the net.

Napoli 2 – 1 Atalanta.

15 minutes later, the game was then marred by another VAR farce.

This time a rugby tackle in the box was adjudged to have been preceded by an elbow.

Napoli’s Llorente was rugby tackled in the box, and Atalanta stole possession and marched down the other end to score the equaliser.

VAR reviewed the goal and much to the San Paolo faithful’s disbelief allowed it to stand.

Ilicic was credited with Atalanta’s second.

Napoli 2 – 2 Atalanta.

The chaos that ensued from the aftermath of the controversial decision, saw Carlo Ancelotti banished to the stands by the referee.

Subsequently eight minutes of added time at the end of the 90.

Statistically, it was an even affair, with according to beIN, possession was just about even at around 50%.

Both sides had plenty of shots, but Napoli will feel hard done by with another controversial intervention from VAR

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NAPLES, ITALY – OCTOBER 30: Referee Pino Giacomelli shows the red card to Carlo Ancelotti coach of SSC Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Atalanta BC at Stadio San Paolo on October 30, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)