Atalanta earned their first ever Champions League victory and could still reach the Round of 16 after beating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at San Siro.
La Dea lost their first ever Champions League match 4-0 in Zagreb and have managed only one point, holding Manchester City to a 1-1 draw, so this was a must-win game to have any hope of staying in the competition.
Duvan Zapata was still out injured, but Luis Muriel was finally used from the start, sending Josip Ilicic to the bench. Dinamo midfielder Nikola Moro was suspended, with Marko Leskovic, Komnen Andric and Sandro Kulenovic injured. They switched to a three-man defence to mirror Atalanta.
The hosts had two big chances in the opening three minutes, as first Hans Hateboer got it trapped under his feet on a Muriel assist, then Mario Pasalic couldn’t get the tap-in from six yards on a low Papu Gomez cross.
Dominik Livakovic came rushing out to smother Muriel’s back-heel assist for Gomez, while Pasalic hit a fresh-air shot on the Gomez ball flashed across the six-yard box.
Gosens thought Atalanta’s luck really was out when he hit the crossbar, but as Muriel pounced on the rebound, he was clumsily brought down by Dino Peric for a penalty. Muriel stepped up and converted it himself, sending Livakovic the wrong way with a delicate finish.
Muriel blasted another good chance over the bar, but Hateboer saw what would’ve been 2-0 cleared off the like by Peric, making up for his penalty foul.
At the other end, Mislav Orsic – who scored a hat-trick in Zagreb – curled a great right-foot effort that bounced off the crossbar.
Atalanta doubled their lead immediately after the restart with a great solo effort from Papu Gomez. The captain pounced on a loose ball, nutmegged Luka Ivanusec and immediately smashed the left-foot screamer into the far bottom corner across the goalkeeper. It was his first Champions League goal and one taken in real style.
Livakovic rushed off his line to push a long Gomez ball off the head of Pasalic, but there were worrying scenes when Muriel went off after a knock to the knee.
Pasalic’s effort was deflected wide, then substitute Josip Ilicic completed a give-and-go with Pasalic to burst into the box, his angled drive clipping the far post.
Gomez should’ve made it 3-0 when sent clear on goal by Marten de Roon, but he fired straight at the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Atalanta 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Muriel pen 27 (A), Gomez 47 (A)
Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Kjaer; Hateboer (Castagne 65), De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic; Gomez (Malinovskyi 90), Muriel (Ilicic 60)
Dinamo Zagreb: Livakovic; Theophile-Catherine, Dilaver, Peric; Stojanovic (Dira 75), Olmo (Situm 93), Ivanusec (Gojak 67), Ademi, Leovac; Orsic, Petkovic
Ref: Karasev (RUS)
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