Valentin Castellanos put on a show at the Stadio Olimpico as he played a leading role in Lazio’s fiery 3-2 win over Atalanta.
The 25-year-old Argentinian striker has hardly featured under Maurizio Sarri this season following his summer move from New York City FC, but was given the nod against la Dea after usual starter Ciro Immobile was ruled out with a flexor muscle issue.
Lazio have not looked particularly convincing so far this term but a dramatic 2-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League gave the team a key confidence boost after their slow start, the results of which were plainly apparent against Atalanta.
Deploying a fairly new look midfield in the form of Luis Alberto, Mateo Guendouzi and Nicolo Rovella, Sarri hoped Lazio would be able to build off their European win in front of a packed Stadio Olimpico crowd.
The Biancocelesti took the lead after just five minutes when Atalanta’s Charles De Ketelaere accidentally bounced the ball into his own net following a corner.
Lazio doubled their advantage only minutes later after Castellanos got on the end of a Felipe Anderson cross, putting the home side 2-0 up after 11 minutes.
The match began to slow down a little after this, until a confident header from Ederson in the 33rd minute clawed one back for the visitors.
Just after the hour mark, Sead Kolasinac found the equaliser for Atalanta with another strong header, levelling things out at 2-2 after 63 minutes.
Lazio began to push for an equaliser after this and their forward ventures were rewarded with less than 10 minutes to go, when a leaping Castellanos headed the ball into a perfect spot for Matias Vecino, who acrobatically guided the ball past Juan Musso to take victory for the home side.
It was an important and decisive reaction from Lazio, who now have all the cards to start recovering from their slow start and climbing up the league table.