Milan were denied by two goal-line clearances and the woodwork, but Atalanta had their chances to in a foggy and frantic 0-0 draw.
Both sides had seen their excellent runs interrupted in recent weeks, the Rossoneri beaten by Roma in a head-to-head for second place and Orobici losing two on the bounce after winning nine and drawing one. Mati Fernandez, Riccardo Montolivo and Davide Calabria missed out, but Jack Bonaventura, Juraj Kucka and Luca Antonelli returned. Carlos Bacca was left on the bench in favour of Gianluca Lapadula. Atalanta had to do without Etrit Berisha, Alberto Paloschi and Abdoulay Konko.
Franck Kessie decisively cut off Lapadula from going clear on goal after flicking the ball past Rafael Toloi, then Juraj Kucka couldn’t quite reach at the back post to tap in a flicked-on Bonaventura free kick.
Alessio Romagnoli made a decisive tackle on Andrea Petagna right on the edge of the box, while Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez flashed a cross-shot along the six-yard box with nobody to meet it.
Luca Antonelli stung Marco Sportiello’s gloves at the near post, then at the other end Petagna managed to turn on the spot to fire just wide.
It was a very scrappy first half in the fog with numerous fouls, but Atalanta started to emerge from their shell as it wore on. Petagna attempted a cheeky back-heel flick from six yards on a Roberto Gagliardini cross from the right, then Andrea Conti nodded over at the far stick.
On the stroke of half-time there was a chance at each end in 30 mad seconds. First Gigio Donnarumma parried a Gagliardini header from Gomez’s free kick, then on the counter Antonelli’s scorcher smacked against the upright.
The second half started in similar vein, as Gomez tested Donnarumma at the near post and Suso’s snapshot was smothered. A cheeky Bonaventura dummy on the edge of the box allowed him to get away from his marker, but the finish was over the bar.
Bonaventura, who had an extremely quiet first half, was dangerous with another similar move, this time drilling just wide.
Kucka’s pass flashed across the six-yard box, but both Lapadula and Bonaventura came sliding in and couldn’t make contact.
Neither side could find the breakthrough and Papu Gomez curled a solo effort just wide of the far post. Milan gained momentum and started to peg Atalanta back.
Sportiello was shaky again on a long ball and Lapadula managed to flick it towards the empty net, but Mattia Caldara was back for a decisive goal-line clearance. Moments later Kucka nutmegged Boukary Drame’ and flashed a cross-shot across the face of goal.
Atalanta remained dangerous on the counter, as Donnarumma fingertipped a diving Rafael Toloi header over the bar and substitute Carlos Bacca waltzed round Sportiello only to be denied by a Conti goal-line clearance from a tight angle.