Serie A: Champions League chasers Atalanta surge back to top-four with hard-fought victory over Udinese

Agence France-Presse
Midfielders Marten de Roon and Mario Pasalic scored late as Atalanta beat Udinese 2-0 to surge back into the top four in Serie A on Monday.

Milan: Midfielders Marten de Roon and Mario Pasalic scored late as Atalanta beat Udinese 2-0 to surge back into the top four in Serie A on Monday.

The side from Bergamo move ahead of Roma into the final Champions League spot days after booking their ticket to the Coppa Italia final on 15 May against Lazio.

The battle for elite European football next season remains tight with six teams in the running to join Juventus and Napoli in the competition next season.

Atalanta with 59 points from 34 games move one point ahead of Roma who drop to fifth with four games left of the campaign.

"We're experiencing something remarkable, the lads are doing incredible things," said coach Gian Piero Gasperini as his team target a place in top-tier European football for the first time.

"It's in our hands now."

Inter Milan, on 62 points, are just three points ahead of Atalanta, with Roma a point behind followed by Torino and AC Milan both on 56 with Lazio still in the running in seventh on 55.

"Roma have only one point then less than us, but the others are all there too," continued Gasperini.

"There are twelve points and all have to win at least three games to make sure they play it, then if we win four, it's mathematical.

"We can all do the tables, we are all inside and no one is left out.

"This is the extraordinary thing about this championship and it makes everything even more fascinating."

Free-flowing Atalanta were contained by northern rivals Udinese for much of the match before Netherlands international De Roon opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 81 minutes after Sandro brought down Andrea Masiello in the box.

Croatia playmaker Pasalic added a second four minutes later for his third goal in five matches.

"We knew it would be difficult, Udinese are superior to their current ranking," said Gasperini of the north-eastern side who are just four points above the drop zone.

Atalanta play Lazio in Serie A next Sunday in the Stadio Olimpico, ten days before returning to Rome again for the Coppa Italia final.

Their final three games will be against Genoa, champions Juventus and Sassuolo.

Sassuolo moved up to tenth on Monday with a 1-0 win over Fiorentina.

Domenico Berardi scored the only goal after 37 minutes to extend Fiorentina's winless run to ten games, as the Tuscany side drop to 12th.

Also See: Serie A: Simone Inzaghi's Lazio keep Champions League ambitions alive with comfortable victory over Udinese

Serie A: Torino dent AC Milan's Champions League hopes; Dries Mertens matches Diego Maradona's league goals in Napoli win

Coppa Italia: Atalanta reach first competition final since 1996 with victory over six-time winners Fiorentina

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