Palermo scraped a stoppage-time victory, but it didn’t matter, as Sampdoria go into the Champions League.
The Orobici already knew they were relegated, but for the Sicilians it was all to play for. They needed a victory and for Napoli to trip up Sampdoria in order to qualify for the Champions League.
Giulio Migliaccio was suspended with Fabrizio Miccoli, Mark Bresciano and Fabio Simplicio sidelined. The home team had the trio of Maximiliano Pellegrino, Nicola Amoruso and Jaime Valdes on a ban, plus Edgar Barreto, Javier Chevanton, Tiberio Guarente, Leonardo Talamonti and Paolo Zanetti injured.
Atalanta had a strong start, threatening in the opening minutes with both Cristiano Doni firing over and Simone Tiribocchi hitting it straight at Salvatore Sirigu.
However, it was Palermo who broke through against the run of play. The South Americans combined, as Javier Pastore sprung the offside trap from an Abel Hernandez ball over the top to prod with the outside of his right foot for Edinson Cavani to tap in.
Fabio Ceravolo’s header was straight at the goalkeeper and Sirigu flew to palm away a Radovanovic right-foot screamer. Just before the break, Pastore set up Abel Hernandez only for the Uruguayan to drill wide from the edge of the area.
Cristiano Doni’s free kick skimmed the upright, but play was repeatedly halted in the first half due to fireworks thrown by the Atalanta fans.
The Orobici ruined Palermo’s Champions League hopes straight after the restart with a wonderful Ceravolo solo effort. He burst down the left flank and smashed the curling right-foot finish in at the near post.
News also came through that Sampdoria were winning at Marassi, so Palermo had that double blow. Nonetheless, the Sicilians kept pushing and Cavani’s angled drive was only denied by Bianco’s goalline clearance.
Sirigu was at full stretch to palm a Doni snapshot off the line, while Andrea Consigli had to keep out both Bertolo and Pastore.
Atalanta were right in the thick of this game and arguably had the better chances, as Simone Padoin’s effort from point-blank range brought a desperate reaction save from Sirigu.
Cavani controlled from a set play only to half-volley on to the side-netting from six yards.
Consigli prevented Igor Budan from turning the game around with a great save as the Croatian flicked with the outside of his right boot from close range.
Budan horribly wasted on the counter when one-on-one, firing straight at the grateful goalkeeper with a weak finish.
The referee awarded a harsh penalty in stoppages, as Bianco blocked an overhead kick with his hand, but he could not have got out of the way. Nonetheless, Cavani stepped up to convert the penalty and give Palermo a futile victory.