Serie A: Virtuoso Ilicic display fires Atalanta to big win at Benevento

Atalanta's Josip Ilicic put on a masterclass to inspire his side to a 4-1 win at Benevento in Serie A and move it up to provisional fourth place in the standings.

Atalanta's Josip Ilicic put on a masterclass to inspire his side to a 4-1 win. (File picture)   -  Getty Images

Atalanta's Josip Ilicic put on a masterclass to inspire his side to a 4-1 win at Benevento in Serie A and move it up to provisional fourth place in the standings on Saturday.

The Slovenian forward put the visitor ahead on the half-hour after skipping between two defenders in the box and firing through another’s legs to wrongfoot goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo.

Ilicic was close to adding a second with an explosive shot that crashed off the post but his good work was undone when the unmarked Marco Sau tapped in a cross to equalise for the hosts against the run of play early in the second half.

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However more Ilicic magic soon helped Atalanta back in front in the 69th as he played a one-two on the edge of the area with Cristian Romero before striking a shot that Montipo could only parry into the path of Rafael Toloi for a tap-in.

Two minutes later Atalanta took control when Ilicic curled an inviting cross to the back post where Duvan Zapata was on hand to volley home and substitute Luis Muriel completed the rout by curling in his 10th league goal of the season late on.

The result stretched Atalanta’s unbeaten league run to seven matches and leaves them fourth on 31 points ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures. Benevento remain 10th on 21 points.

The result stretched Atalanta's unbeaten league run to seven matches and leaves them fourth on 31 points ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures. Benevento remain 10th on 21 points.

Elsewhere, Genoa's revival continued as it beat Bologna 2-0 to climb out of the relegation zone and record its first home league win since September.

Miha Zajc fired home the opener on the brink of halftime before Mattia Destro pounced after the break to net his fifth goal in his last six appearances in the league.

The Ligurian club has now picked up seven points in four games since coach Davide Ballardini returned in December for his fourth spell in charge, the same amount it had registered in the previous 13 matches.

That run of form means Genoa has risen to 17th place on 14 points, while Bologna is 12th with 17 points.

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