What Parma got up to on their Christmas break I'm not certain, though they've never quite managed to recover from it. Prior to today they'd won only three times in the last five months, though have now finally added a fourth after seeing off Atalanta and moving back into the top half of the table.
They were the better side throughout the game, and should've taken the lead inside the opening ten minutes, when Álvaro Ampuero -- on his home debut -- shimmied past a defender before drilling a low cross across the face of the goal. Agonisingly no-one could touch it in. Ishak Belfodil's cross for Marco Parolo was almost stabbed into the net, though Atalanta weathered the early -- and literal -- storm.
Rain was pouring at the Ennio Tardini, and Ampuero's day almost went from good to very bad, very quickly. After 20 minutes he did his finest Nigel De Jong impression and demonstrated his kung-fu skills, though the Peruvian only picked up a yellow card for his high boot.
Belfodil had an effort saved at the near post by Andrea Consigli before Amauri's excellent header forced a diving stop from the Atalanta keeper. The pressure was building. It was almost brought to a rapid conclusion when the referee silenced a stunned Parma crowd by pulling out a red card for a foul by Marco Parolo, before he realised he'd pulled out the wrong card and quickly switched it for a yellow.
It was just as well -- Parolo was the man who opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime. Left free on the edge of the box, he received a layoff from Belfodil and proceeded to smash it into the top corner, handing Parma the advantage. It was almost cancelled out immediately, though a miraculous save from Antonio Mirante -- not least because he'd probably fallen asleep at some point in the preceding 45 minutes.
After the restart, Parolo almost added a second. His drilled shot from long-range was parried away by Consigli, though the crociati would add a second a couple of minutes later. Jonathan Biabiany -- celebrating his 100th appearance in a Parma shirt -- converted with an accurate shot inside the area, and it was 2-0.
From there the game petered out in the dismal rain, with Atalanta offering little offensive threat at all. Substitute Aleandro Rosi almost added a second in the dying minutes, though his goal was chalked off after a foul by Rodney Strasser on Consigli.
It was a comfortable victory for the gialloblu, and now means they can't be relegated. Atalanta's position is marginally less secure -- they're seven points above the relegation zone -- though should still easily survive the drop.
Parma: Antonio Mirante; Massimo Gobbi, Alessandro Lucarelli, Gabriel Paletta, Yohan Benalouane; Álvaro Ampuero (Rodney Strasser 77), Marco Marchionni, Marco Parolo; Ishak Belfodil (Aleandro Rosi 76), Amauri, Jonathan Biabiany (Filippo Boniperti 91)
Atalanta: Andrea Consigli; Davide Brivio, Stefano Lucchini (Matteo Contini 26), Guglielmo Stendardo, Michele Ferri (Giuseppe De Luca 60); Giacomo Bonaventura, Davide Biondini, Luca Cigarini (Carlos Carmona 71), Cristian Raimondi; Maxi Moralez; Germán Denis
Goals: Parolo 44 (P) Biabiany 58 (P)