Atalanta continued their remarkable season by beating Sampdoria 2-0 on Wednesday to extend their winning run to nine Serie A games and climb to third in the table, although they left it late against stubborn opponents.
Serie A's leading scorers struggled to break down relegation-threatened Samp until Ruslan Malinovskyi's inswinging corner found Rafael Toloi at the far post and the Brazilian outjumped two defenders to head home in the 75th minute.
Substitute Luis Muriel fired the second 10 minutes later, his ninth goal of the season scored from the bench, although the Colombian did not celebrate against his former club.
Sampdoria's veteran coach Claudio Ranieri had been sent off just before the first goal, the referee losing patience with him after persistent dissent.
Atlanta have 66 points from 31 games, two ahead of Inter Milan who visit Verona on Thursday and only two behind second-placed Lazio. Their next game is away to leaders Juventus (75 points) on Saturday.
Samp are 16th with 32 points, five clear of the drop zone.