Atalanta secures Champions League spot with win at Lecce in Serie A

Lecce's Roberto Piccoli, left, and Atalanta's Rafael Toloi battle for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between US Lecce and Atalanta BC at the Via del Mare Stadium, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Lecce, Italy. (Giovanni Evangelista/LaPresse via AP)

ROME — Atalanta secured a Champions League spot with a 2-0 win at Lecce in the penultimate round of Serie A on Saturday.

The Bergamo squad is in fifth place, six points ahead of Roma, and holds a tiebreaker over the Giallorossi after beating Roma last weekend. Atalanta also moved within one point of fourth-placed Juventus.

Italy will have at least five squads in next season’s Champions League, and could earn a sixth if Atalanta defeats unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow we’ll start thinking about that. For tonight, we want to enjoy this,” Atalanta striker Gianluca Scamacca said when asked about facing Leverkusen.

Atalanta was coming off a 1-0 loss to Juventus in the Italian Cup final and Charles De Ketelaere and Scamacca scored five minutes apart shortly after the break.

Scamacca set up De Ketelaere and then headed in the second.

Scamacca has 18 goals and provided seven assists in 41 matches across all competitions this season.

“The team is helping me a lot to take advantage of my skills,” he said. “It’s a good moment.”

Atalanta will return to the Champions League after a two-year absence. Its best result in Europe’s top club competition was the quarterfinals in 2020.

Later, second-placed AC Milan was visiting Torino.

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