A win where the team’s maturity was fully on display. This evening, the Rossoneri got the better of Atalanta, running out 3-2 winners in Bergamo. The result isn’t really a fair reflection of what happened, with AC Milan having been by far the superior side at the Gewiss stadium. The deadlock was broken by Calabria after just 30 seconds, and Tonali added a second just before half-time. The Diavolo’s third, which was scored by Leão, all but killed off the match, although the hosts responded with two late goals from Zapata (an 85th-minute penalty) and Pašalić deep into stoppage time. At a tough ground and against high-quality opponents, Coach Pioli’s men built on all they’ve done in the past few months, displaying fluidity, defensive solidity and mental strength, even during a frenetic finale.
There were many positive aspects, from great individual displays to the team as a whole. Furthermore, Junior Messias came on to make his Rossoneri debut. Following wins over Venezia and Spezia, it was the Diavolo’s third consecutive victory in the league, and the team have now picked up 19 points from a possible 21. AC Milan thus sit second in the league behind Napoli, who lead the way with a perfect record. It’s now time for the international break, during which the Rossoneri can take a deep breath, get their injured players back and turn up to their next league fixture ready to go again. This will be a 20:45 CEST kick-off against Hellas Verona at San Siro on 16 October.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM ATALANTA v AC MILAN
Only thirty seconds had been played and we had unlocked the game immediately: Theo's through ball found Calabria, captain for the evening, whose initial toe-poke was saved by Musso, but on the rebound he was able to find the net and put the Rossoneri one goal up. In the 6th minute, Rebić broke forward and set up Brahim, but Demiral put his body on the line to block his shot and stop a second going in. The hosts also proved threatening: a loose ball in the area on 9 minutes was met with a powerful right foot by de Roon who shot over the crossbar. Atalanta believed, and on 14 minutes came close to equalising: Zapata beat Kjær and shot at goal, Maignan saved it well before Tonali made a vital interception to stop the ball falling for Malinovskyi. On the counter, we were able to prove dangerous: Leão for Rebić, Ante for Díaz who shot with his left, only for Musso to save with his feet. Maignan then took centre stage by producing two great saves, first on Zappacosta's left-footed effort and then Zapata's header. After an opening 25 minutes played at a crazy pace, the teams took a moment to catch their breaths. The second goal arrived 42 minutes in: good pressing from Tonali allowed him to steal the ball from Freuler, before bursting forward and slotting the ball past the onrushing Musso. In the 44th minute, we came close to a fantastic third with a Kessie rocket that ended centimetres wide.
The second half opened in similar fashion to the first. Gasperini brought on Iličić and Muriel to increase the attacking potential of his team. A great chance for 3-0 came in the 60th minute: Ante’s cross found Saelemaekers whose powerful header was well saved by Musso. Another chance fell our way in the 62nd minute: Calabria combined with Rebić and tried a left-footed shot that was deflected over. On 72 minutes, Tonali played through Alexis again, who was stopped at the last minute by de Roon. The third goal came on 78 minutes: a quick counterattack by Theo, a touch for Leão who, with his right, hammered the ball into the top corner. 85 minutes in, and after a VAR review, Di Bello won a penalty for Atalanta as his shot hit the hand of Messias: Zapata converted and reduced our lead. In the 94th minute, Pašalić cut into the lead further, despite Rossoneri protests for a foul on Messias. There was no more time remaining for the hosts however, as the Rossoneri conquered the Gewiss Stadium.
ATALANTA 2-3 MILAN
ATALANTA (3-4-2-1): Musso; Djimsiti, Demiral (46' Koopmeiners), Palomino; Zappacosta, de Roon, Freuler (87' Pašalić), Mæhle (56' Muriel); Malinovskyi (56' Iličić), Pessina (24' Pezzella); Zapata. Subs: Rossi, Sportiello; Lovato, Scalvini; Miranchuk; Piccoli. Coach: Gasperini.
AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjær, Tomori, Hernández (80' Ballo-Touré); Tonali (80' Bennacer), Kessie; Saelemaekers, Díaz (74' Messias), Leão (90' Pellegri); Rebić. Subs: Jungdal, Tătărușanu; Conti, Gabbia, Kalulu, Romagnoli; Castillejo; Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
Referee: Di Bello from Brindisi.
Goal: 1' Calabria (M), 42' Tonali (M), 78' Leão (M), 86' rig. Zapata (A), 94' Pašalić (A).
Booked: 40' de Roon (A), 42' Díaz (M), 52' Tomori (M), 85' Messias (M), 87' Leão (M).
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