Ilicic just 'shooting at goal' for wonder strike

2 min

Milan (AFP)

Atalanta striker Josip Ilicic said he was just "shooting at goal" as he capped another Serie A hat-trick with a stunning goal from the halfway line in a 7-0 thrashing of Torino on Saturday.

The Slovenian has scored a hat-trick in each of the last three Serie A campaigns, including two last season, for the Bergamo side.

"I didn't know I had done all these hat-tricks, but it's all about the team, how we're playing and the opportunities we're creating," said the 31-year-old Ilicic.

"I grabbed the ball right away afterwards, it's for my daughters, they love to play."

Fifth-placed Atalanta have the top attack in the league with 57 goals scored -- thrashing Udinese 7-1 in October, and both Parma and AC Milan with a 5-0 scoreline, in the last month.

Ilicic marked his 100th game for Atalanta by bringing his tally to 42 goals for the club, against 10th-placed Torino who finished the game with nine men.

But his second came in sensational style after 53 minutes when he spotted Salvatore Sirigu off his line and sent a free-kick from just inside the halfway line sailing over the head of the Torino goalkeeper.

"I saw they were positioned badly, Sirigu was outside the area, my teammates told me to kick and I did it," he said.

Afterwards team-mate Papu Gomez pretended to polish the Slovenian's left boot.

"These gestures show how close the group is. It shows how far we've all come together, but we want to go even further.

"Goal of the season? This is the first year I haven't set myself any target," he added.

He has already scored 13 goals in 17 Serie A appearances, matching his previous best season total with Fiorentina in 2015-16.

Atalanta finished third last season to reach the Champions League for the first time and next play Valencia in the knock-out rounds.