Atalanta outplayed Manchester City in the second half and snatched their first Champions League point with Mario Pasalic, but didn’t make the most of Claudio Bravo’s dismissal, which left Kyle Walker in goal.
La Dea were joint fourth in Serie A, but still looking for their first Champions League point, despite taking the lead in two of their three defeats, including the 5-1 loss at the Etihad. Duvan Zapata was still injured, so Gian Piero Gasperini again kept Josip Ilicic as a False 9, with Mario Pasalic instead of Ruslan Malinovskyi. Phil Foden was suspended, David Silva, Rodri, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte injured.
Atalanta kept the ball for long periods early on and Hans Hateboer volleyed on to the side-netting at the back post, but it was Manchester City who scored with their first foray forward.
Marten De Roon gave the ball away cheaply and the Gabriel Jesus back-heel flick sent Raheem Sterling clear on goal to beat Pierluigi Gollini one-on-one.
Hateboer was decisive with a sliding block on Sterling, as he went to tap in a Kevin De Bruyne pull-back, while Ederson had to come rushing out to clear from Papu Gomez.
Gollini got down well to beat away a low Riyad Mahrez effort, then the referee awarded a penalty on 40 minutes, but VAR showed the Rafael Toloi shirt tug on Sterling was outside the box.
However, the Sterling free kick from that incident then hit Ilicic’s hand in the wall and that was a penalty. Gabriel Jesus stepped up only to horribly scuff the spot-kick wide of the target, letting Atalanta off the hook.
They seemed to take this as a sign and recovered some confidence, as Ilicic’s strike was deflected just over the far top corner.
Ederson went off at half-time with a muscular issue, so Manchester City brought on second choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
Ilicic sprung the offside trap on a smart ball over the top, but his second touch let him down and he went too wide to trouble Bravo.
It was only a warning, as moments later Atalanta equalised, with Gomez whipping a cross in from the left for Mario Pasalic to complete the run from deep with an undisturbed header.
Another great Gomez ball saw Ilicic get away from defenders, as Bravo had to rush out and intercept with a diving header. Gomez’s curler was charged down inside the area by Otamendi, as Atalanta were pinning Manchester City back.
Berat Djimsiti’s glancing header from a corner skimmed the far post with Bravo beaten, then the defender only grazed his head to another Ilicic free kick.
The Manchester City offside trap was disastrous throughout the second half and the Atalanta tactic paid off when Ilicic was sent clear on goal, Bravo came tearing out and hacked him down. It was an inevitable red card and, as Ederson was off injured, meant there were no more goalkeepers on the bench.
Kyle Walker had to come on and take the gloves, but deciding Mahrez would come off to make way took seven minutes of chaotic touchline debate.
Walker’s first move was to spill a Ruslan Malinovskyi free kick, but get it under control on the rebound. There were seven minutes of stoppages, but Manchester City expertly wasted time, while Atalanta were too frantic in their attempts to score and wasted opportunities.
Shakhtar Donetsk fought back for a 3-3 draw at Dinamo Zagreb, meaning Atalanta are still in with a slim chance of qualification.
Atalanta 1-1 Man City
Sterling 7 (M), Pasalic 49 (A)
Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimisti; Hateboer, Freuler (Malinovskyi 84), De Roon, Castagne (Muriel 92); Pasalic; Ilicic, Gomez
Man City: Ederson (Bravo 46); Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy; Gundogan, De Bruyne; Mahrez (Walker 88), Bernardo Silva, Sterling; Gabriel Jesus (Aguero 74)
Ref: Kulbakov (BLR)
Missed penalty: Gabriel Jesus 43 (M)
Sent off: Bravo 81 (M)
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