As we all know, football is back, but it’s a very different beast to what we all know and love. Empty stadiums result in an eerie atmosphere, and that’s what awaited us at the Dacia Arena, for the first ‘Framed’ instalment since lockdown, as Udinese welcomed Atalanta.

Atalanta arrived at the empty Studio Friuli, aka the Dacia Arena, looking to extend their five match winning run and tighten their hold on fourth place in Serie A. The reverse fixture saw the visitors beat Udinese 7-1, and the home side were keen to avoid a similar humbling. Atalanta have rightly gained a reputation for being one of Europe's most exciting teams to watch – little wonder when they have scored 77 Serie A goals this term, 15 more than next-best Lazio. Udinese, on the other hand, came into the match on the back of nine matches without a win in all competitions. Indeed, the contrast was as stark as the empty stadium.

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Devoid of spectators, the multi-coloured seating on three sides was on clear display, making our visit feel more like a 'Residence' piece rather than 'Framed'. The lack of any noise other than that of the players, hearing every grunt and shout, lent to this feeling like a trip down to the local park to watch a Sunday league match. But the quality on show was far more impressive; no wobbling beer guts, half time ciggies or vomiting on the sideline following the night before on display here.

Regarding the on-pitch action, it was ex-Udinese man Luis Muriel who came off the bench to haunt the home side. Two stunning strikes – one an absolute postage stamp free kick and the other an absolute arrow into the bottom corner, came after Zapata had opened the scoring and Lasagna had equalised. A second helping of Lasagna near the death was not enough though, as Atalanta sealed the win. 

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Photography by Giacomo Cosua for SoccerBible.