Jack Bonaventura scored twice against his former club, as Milan – and Pippo Inzaghi – end with a 3-1 win away to Atalanta.
The Orobici were in a mood to celebrate after securing their Serie A safety and welcomed back German Denis after a five-match ban for punching Empoli’s Lorenzo Tonelli in a locker room brawl. Pippo Inzaghi and Jack Bonaventura returned to face their former clubs, but it was 99 per cent the final match for this Coach.
Cristian Zaccardo sat out a ban with Jeremy Menez, Luca Antonelli, Diego Lopez, Riccardo Montolivo, Adil Rami, Alex, Ignazio Abate and Michael Essien injured.
Gabriel Paletta risked giving away a penalty within three minutes, but kicked the ball on to his own hand as he was falling over, so the referee considered it to be involuntary.
Daniele Baselli hooked a Luca Cigarini ball over the top, but turned wide under pressure from brave Christian Abbiati.
Denis was unlucky not to break the deadlock on 17 minutes, but his header from a Davide Zappacosta cross bounced off the bar.
The Atalanta goal had been coming and arrived with Baselli’s free header from six yards on a Maxi Moralez cross from the right. The midfielder had been on the verge of a transfer to Milan in January and could still make that move in future.
The Rossoneri’s first genuine scoring opportunity came after 32 minutes, but Cigarini cleared the Philippe Mexes header off the line.
Andrea Masiello mistimed his tackle on Giampaolo Pazzini and the former Atalanta youth product converted the resulting penalty to draw Milan level.
The game was turned around completely within 120 seconds. Keisuke Honda slipped when trying to control a Stephan El Shaarawy chipped pass, Pazzini’s finish was deflected on to the far post and Bonaventura turned in the rebound. ‘Jack’ refused to celebrate, as he only left Atalanta last summer and the fans reserved a banner for him before kick-off: ‘Your shirt colours have changed, but you remain in our hearts.’
After the restart Abbiati had to prevent a Mexes own goal, then got a wrist to a low Zappacosta cross, ensuring Alejandro Gomez couldn’t tap in from six yards.
It was a much scrappier affair, as Denis saw a volley charged down by Mexes and Bonaventura scored another chaotic goal. Marco van Ginkel only scuffed the cross and Bonaventura hit the upright, but turned in the rebound undisturbed. Once again, he waved apologetically to his former fans.
Teenagers Davide Calabria and Davide Di Molfetta were given Serie A debuts for the final minutes. Gomez had the chance to get Atalanta back into it, but slipped at the crucial moment.
Bonaventura was substituted late on and got a warm round of applause from the Bergamo crowd.