Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Atalanta moving up

Published:Sunday | February 26, 2017 | 2:00 AM

NAPLES, Italy (AP):

The bar has been raised at Atalanta.

Not only is the provincial squad dreaming of a place in Europe, but it has the Champions League within its sights after winning at Napoli 2-0 yesterday to move to within three points of the third-placed side in Serie A.

Defender Mattia Caldara again stole the show with a goal in each half. Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie was sent off moments before Caldara's second, following two bookings in quick succession.

It ended Napoli's run of 14 league matches without defeat.

Inter Milan can move back level with Atalanta with a win over second-place Roma today. Victory would make the race for a place in Europe's elite club competition wide open.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini admitted last week that a win against Napoli would change his side's objectives, and that new aim will be tested in its next two matches against Fiorentina and Inter.

Atalanta's achievement is even more impressive given that they rely mainly on young, homegrown talent.

Caldara, who was signed by Juventus last month but loaned back to Atalanta until 2018, is only 22, while Andrea Petagna, Andrea Conti, and Alberto Grassi are the same age or younger. They all came through the youth ranks together at the Bergamo-based club.