Ghana midfielder Alfred Duncan netted a brace as US Sassuolo were thump 6-2 by Atalanta at the Mapei Stadium on Saturday.
Duvan Zapata fetched the opener for Atalanta in the 19th minute before Alejandro Gomez extended the visitors lead with a deflected shot three minutes prior to the break.
There were three goals in a seven-minute spell early in the second half as Alfred Duncan pulled one back for Sassuolo, Gianluca Mancini restored Atalanta’s two-goal lead in the 54th minute.
But Duncan handed the Neroverdi a glimmer of hope after pulling a goal back in the 58th minute courtesy Prince Boateng’s assist.
With the game on a knife-edge, Josip Ilicic was brought on in the 63rd minute and the Slovenian became the first player to score a hat-trick in Serie A from the substitutes’ bench since 2011.
Ilicic opened his account with an angled shot in the 74th minute, added a second with three minutes left following an exchange of passes with Gomez and completed his hat-trick on the counter-attack in stoppage time.
Duncan lasted the entire duration of the game.
The good news for Sassuolo fans will be the return of Prince Boateng from his muscular injury.
The Ghana forward was said to be sidelined for the rest of the year but has made a quick return than expected.