Atalanta's attempts to beat the drop in Serie A have taken a blow with top scorer German Denis receiving a five-match ban for attacking an opponent after Sunday's draw with Empoli.
Denis scored a 93rd-minute equaliser on Sunday to preserve Atalanta's seven-point cushion over the bottom three, but his contribution to their run-in will be limited.
A Serie A tribunal found that Denis had reacted furiously to threats from Empoli defender Lorenzo Tonelli, who is alleged to have told the Argentinian: "I'll kill you and your family."
Veteran striker Denis responded by storming the Empoli dressing room post-match and punching Tonelli in the face "with grave consequences" according to a Serie A statement.
Tonelli was given a one-match ban for his part in the fracas.
Denis has eight goals for Atalanta this term. Edy Reja's 17th-placed side face second-bottom Cesena in a potentially crucial clash on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old will be available for selection again ahead of Atalanta's season-ending clash with Milan in Bergamo.
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