Piatek at the double as AC Milan beat Atalanta

Class act: AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek celebrates scoring on Saturday. (AFP pic)

ROME: Two goals from Krzysztof Piatek helped AC Milan come from behind to beat Atalanta 3-1 away in Serie A and move four points clear in fourth place on Saturday.

Piatek cancelled out Remo Freuler’s first-half opener with goals either side of halftime to take his tally at Milan to six in five games since joining from Genoa in January, with Hakan Calhanoglu also finding the net.

The result could prove significant in the Champions League race with just one point having separated the sides going into the game.

Milan have opened up a four-point lead over Atalanta as well as over Lazio and Roma, who face Genoa and Bologna respectively over the next two days.

With 42 points, Gennaro Gattuso’s side are one point behind third-placed rivals Inter Milan ahead of their clash with Sampdoria on Sunday. Atalanta dropped to seventh.

Piatek became the first Milan player since Mario Balotelli in 2013 to score in each of his first three Serie A starts for the club, having also netted against Roma and Cagliari.

The 23-year-old took his tally to 17 league goals this season between Milan and Genoa.

Atalanta had started the game stronger and took the lead after 33 minutes when Freuler raced onto Josip Ilicic’s cut-back and powered a finish under Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Piatek equalised in first-half stoppage time with an exquisite left-footed volley and the comeback was completed 10 minutes into the second half when Calhanoglu pounced on a poor clearance and rifled a shot into the corner from outside the box, his first league goal of the season.

Piatek then extended his side’s lead by heading in from a corner with just over an hour on the clock.

Elsewhere, Cagliari earned their first win of 2019 by coming from behind to beat Parma 2-1 at the Sardegna Arena as Leonardo Pavoletti cancelled out Juraj Kucka’s header with a second-half double before Joao Pedro was sent off for the home side late on.