Zapata nets 3 as Atalanta puts on a show in 7-2 win at Lecce

Duvan Zapata of Atalanta celebrates after scoring his team's 4th goal during the Serie A match between US Lecce and Atalanta BC at Stadio Via del Mare on March 1, 2020 in Lecce, Italy.

On a day when one of Serie A’s biggest matches was postponed, Atalanta offered up a spectacle of its own for its travelling fans, who had their temperature checked before watching Atalanta rout Lecce 7-2 Sunday.

Duvan Zapata scored a hat trick for the visitors.

Despite the biggest clusters of coronavirus infections being in the Lombardy region, where Atalanta is based, fans were allowed to travel to the match in the south.

Atalanta had sold more than 200 tickets but only around 30 fans made the trip and they had their temperature taken before entering the stadium by medics wearing protective face masks and gloves.

On the field, Lecce had come back from two goals down to make it 2-2 at halftime but Atalanta put on even more of a show after the break.

It was the third time this season that Atalanta had scored seven goals, with the other two coming against Udinese and Torino. It also scored five against AC Milan and Parma.

Atalanta moved six points above fifth-place Roma, which visits Cagliari later in the only other match Sunday. Lecce remained three points above the relegation zone.

Atalanta opened the scoring in somewhat bizarre fashion in the 17th minute as, under no pressure, Lecce defender Giulio Donati headed a corner into his own net.

Zapata headed in another Atalanta corner five minutes later but Riccardo Saponara pulled one back for Lecce in the 29th and Donati scored at the right end five minutes from halftime.

However, the floodgates opened after the break as Josip Ilicic restored Atalanta’s lead two minutes after the restart and Zapata scored two in eight minutes to make it 5-2 in the 62nd.

Luis Muriel didn’t celebrate after scoring against his former team three minutes from time. Fellow substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi capped a great day for Atalanta in stoppage time.

Five Serie A soccer games scheduled for this weekend were postponed on Saturday in an attempt to contain the spread of a virus outbreak. They included Juventus' home game against Inter Milan — a match known as the Derby d'Italia, or Italy's derby.

There have been 29 deaths from the COVID-19 illness in Italy and more than 1,100 people have tested positive, almost all in the country’s north.
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