Atalanta boss Gasperini denies slapping Sampdoria official after sending off

Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini leaves the field after being sent off against Sampdoria. Getty Images

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini denied slapping an official from opponents Sampdoria after being sent off during his side's 2-1 win in Serie A on Sunday.

Gasperini, ordered from the touchline at Sampdoria's Luigi Ferraris stadium for protesting about a penalty awarded to the home side, said afterwards that, as he had walked down the tunnel, Sampdoria club secretary Massimo Ienca was in his way.

"I know Ienca well, he was in front of me and blocking the passageway. I just nudged him aside," Gasperini told his postmatch news conference. "That is what happened -- the rest is just a big song and dance."

However, Sampdoria club director Antonio Romei said: "There was no song or dance or provocation.

"There are witnesses who told me it was a slap. The [Italian football] federation will do its job."

Duvan Zapata gave Atalanta the lead five minutes after half-time with his 17th goal of the season before Sampdoria were awarded the penalty in the 67th minute when Gaston Ramirez went down under a challenge from Alejandro Gomez.

Gasperini was incensed that the referee did not review the incident on the pitchside monitor, and Fabio Quagliarella converted for his 20th goal of the season, making him Serie A's leading scorer.

But Atalanta took the points when Robin Gosens turned the ball in from a narrow angle in the 77th minute. The win kept them seventh on 44 points, six adrift of the Champions League places.

"We need to keep a very close eye on some episodes in the zone around the Champions League places because, with the race so close, they could make a great difference," Gasperini said.

Torino also moved on to 44 points in sixth place after two second-half goals from Andrea Belotti gave them a 2-1 win at next-to-bottom Frosinone.