Atalanta 2-1 Empoli: Marco D'Alessandro strikes late for hosts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 20/12/16 10:54pm
Atalanta got back to winning ways in Serie A with an injury-time decider against Empoli.
Substitutes Franck Kessie and Marco D'Alessandro were the Atalanta heroes in a 2-1 win as Empoli's smash-and-grab raid was foiled.
Levan Mchedlidze swept Empoli into a 49th-minute lead with their first attack, but Atalanta's substitutions made the difference in a dramatic finale.
Atalanta had lost two and drawn one of their last three matches after winning the previous six, but the Bergamo-based side will spend Christmas in the top six.
The first half was one-way traffic as Atalanta dominated without finding the finishing touch in front of goal.
Alejandro Gomez forced Lukasz Skorupski into a near post save before the Empoli goalkeeper had a huge slice of luck after 25 minutes.
Skorupski spilled another Gomez shot and Andrea Petagna got a touch on the ball before falling over the body of the prostrate goalkeeper.
Roberto Gagliardini fired wide as Atalanta's frustration grew and Empoli produced a sucker punch four minutes after the break.
Federico Dimarco's free-kick was met by Mchedlidze on the half-volley, the Georgia striker adding to his first goals of the season in the 2-0 weekend win over Cagliari.
Petagna went close to an equaliser as Skorupski batted away his drive, but Atalanta levelled 16 minutes from time when the lively Kessie lashed home a fierce shot inside the near post.
Gagliardini came within inches of converting Gomez's cross and Atalanta were rewarded for their efforts in the fourth minute of injury time.
Kessie broke to the byline and, although Skorupski bravely saved at the feet of Gagliardini, the ball ran loose for D'Alessandro to fire home the winner.