Ademola Lookman scored on his Serie A debut as Atalanta defeated Sampdoria 2-0 in Saturday’s Italian elite division opener.
With the Black and Blues leading by a lone goal at Stadio Luigi Ferraris courtesy of Rafael Toloi’s early strike, the Nigeria international was introduced for Luis Muriel in the 63rd minute by manager Gian Piero Gasperini.
Lookman did not disappoint as he scored late in the game to give the visitors a well-deserved victory in the 2022-23 opener.
Collecting a pass from Ruslan Malinovsky, the former England youth international danced around the hosts' defenders before slotting a left-footed beauty past goalkeeper Emil Audero.
Three minutes earlier, the 24-year-old had his goal chalked off by referee Federico Dionisi after VAR adjudged he was in an offside position before he was set up by Colombian forward Duvan Zapata.
In the heated fixture that saw 10 players cautioned, it was the Blue-circled who got off to a fine start - however, they were unable to put the ball past goalkeeper Juan Musso.
Marco Giampaolo’s men thought they had taken the lead in the 14th minute, albeit, Francesco Caputo's strike was ruled out by VAR as a result of a foul in the build-up.
Moments later, the visiting side had their first real opportunity but Joakim Maehle failed to convert Hans Hateboer's cross from two yards out after good work from Zapata.
Nonetheless, Atalanta were rewarded for their persistence - taking a 26th-minute lead through defender Toloi - who made no mistake from inside the six-yard box after he was set up by Mario Pasalic.
Buoyed by their deficit, Sampdoria adopted a solid attacking formation, yet they were unable to restore parity before they conceded for the second time to end up losing at home.
Unlike Cote d’Ivoire’s Jeremie Boga who was an unused substitute in the tight fixture, Italy youth international of Nigerian background Caleb Okoli was in action from start to finish. Although, he was cautioned in the 19th minute.
Thanks to this result, Atalanta have now won their debut Serie A season game played away from home without conceding any goal for the first time in their history.
As things stand, they occupy the summit of the Italian elite division log. They would be hoping to continue their fine start when they welcome reigning kings AC Milan to the Gewiss Stadium on August 21.