history13 May 2022

AC MILAN v ATALANTA: A PREVIOUS MEETING

27 October 2004: three unusual goalscorers and an important win against La Dea

Atalanta are the upcoming opponents for Stefano Pioli's AC Milan. This group has experienced both the lowest of lows and highest of highs against the Nerazzurri, from the 5-0 defeat in December 2019 to Kessie's brace on 22 May last year that took us back to the Champions League. Sunday's game will have immense significance and is the renewal of what has become one of the Rossoneri's fiercest rivalries of recent years. AC Milan v Atalanta is a fixture with a lot of history, which has often seen unexpected players come to the fore, just like it was on 27 October 2004.

SETTING THE SCENE
The Rossoneri were in second place going into this midweek matchday at San Siro. The table made for strange reading as surprise package Lecce were level on points with the Rossoneri - five behind leaders Juventus - with Chievo, Inter and Messina trailing close behind. Ancelotti's side had just drawn 0-0 in the derby against the Nerazzurri but had recorded three consecutive wins prior to that, beating Lazio, Reggina and Cagliari. A packed fixture list (having played Barcelona in the Champions League group stage just days before the derby) made heavy rotation essential against Atalanta, who were rock bottom of the table at the time. Coloccini, who had won Olympic gold with Argentina in Athens, was handed a first start for the Club, with Kaladze, Brocchi and Tomasson also all starting.

PLENTY OF CHANCES BUT NO GOALS
The first chance of the game fell to Kaká, whose effort from the edge of the area whistled past Taibi's right-hand post. Mandorlini's Atalanta, however, were well organised and even threatened through Budan, who latched onto an error from Cafu, dribbled past Coloccini and fired goalwards, only for Dida to spring to make the save. Pirlo tested Taibi with a powerful effort from 30 metres out before Kaká combined with Shevchenko, only to misplace the finish. The Brazilian then let fly from range and the ball swerved and dipped viciously but struck the post. Kaladze also had a go on the half volley but it was Budan who came the closest before the first half drew to a close, forcing Dida into a great save.

THREE FIRSTS FOR THE SEASON
After the raft of chances in the first half, AC Milan upped the ante in attack and took the lead in the 53rd minute through Tomasson. The Danish forward received the ball in behind the defence from Pirlo, who had picked up a loose ball from Alberti, turned Natali and scored his first goal of the season. Atalanta were not going to go down without a fight and came close through Budan again. The Rossoneri themselves spurned a chance to score, as Taibi denied Brocchi from the edge of the penalty area. AC Milan did get their second when, in the 71st minute, Kaladze played the ball forward to Rui Costa, who then slipped in Shevchenko. The mercurial striker then laid it off for the onrushing Kaladze, who also bagged his first goal of the season. And, as they say in Italy, there's no two without three. It was the second minute of added and Rui Costa played it forward to the substitute Serginho, who took it past Taibi and scored a deserved third goal for the Rossoneri. It ended 3-0.


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