July 14 (Reuters) - Atalanta's Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic scored a hat-trick as they thrashed relegation-threatened Brescia 6-2 on Tuesday to climb to second place in Serie A, six points behind leaders Juventus and two ahead of Inter Milan and Lazio.
Boasting Serie A's most potent attack, Atalanta took the lead when Ruslan Malinovsky sliced open the defence with a clever pass to set up Pasalic to score in the second minute.
Brescia struck back six minutes later through Ernesto Torregrossa, but they were stunned by three superb goals from Marten de Roon, Malinovsky and a diving header by Duvan Zapata to go in at the break 4-1 down.
The home side did not let up after halftime with Pasalic netting twice more to complete his hat-trick, and though Nikolas Spalek pulled a goal back, the defeat left Brescia second from bottom on 21 points after 33 games, nine points from the safety zone.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor Editing by Toby Davis)
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