Atalanta scraped a 1-1 home draw with Midtjylland, who got their first Champions League point, but still climb into second place ahead of Ajax.
La Dea were feeling more confident after a 2-0 win at Anfield, and now they will qualify for the last 16 as long as they avoid defeat in Amsterdam. Pierluigi Gollini, Mario Pasalic and Mattia Caldara were injured, while Aleksei Miranchuk and Ruslan Malinovskyi had COVID-19.
Atalanta wasted some glorious early opportunities, Duvan Zapata firing over from close range and Hans Hateboer blasting straight at the goalkeeper after some good build-up play.
They were made to pay for those errors, as moments later Midtjylland took the lead when Sory Kaba knocked down the ball with his back to goal and Alexander Scholz hit it low first time from the edge of the area to fly past Marco Sportiello.
Matteo Pessina’s angled drive squirmed under the defender’s legs only to flash just wide, but too often Atalanta’s complex build-up was finished meekly.
Mabil hit a scorcher off target from distance, but Duvan Zapata again failed to really trouble the goalkeeper.
Josip Ilicic came on for the second half, but surprisingly in place of Papu Gomez and the entire second half was one long siege on the Midtjylland net. It became particularly intense with teenager Amad Diallo Traore, who ran clear on goal despite having his shirt tugged, forced a desperate save and then Duvan Zapata fired the rebound over.
Diallo Traore had another double chance, with two saves in quick succession, and eventually it all paid off when Hans Hateboer’s cross found Cristian Romero for a looping header.
They poured forward to the bitter end, but couldn’t find a winner. It is irrelevant, because Ajax lost 1-0 to Liverpool. That means Liverpool have qualified, while Atalanta can do the same with at least a draw in Amsterdam.
Atalanta 1-1 Midtjylland
Scholz 13 (M), Romero
Atalanta: Sportiello; Palomino (Toloi 68), Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, Freuler (De Roon 68), Pessina, Gosens (Ruggeri 86); Gomez (Ilicic 46); Muriel (Traore 68), Duvan Zapata
Midtjylland: J Hansen; J Andersson, James, Scholz, Paulinho; Høegh; Dreyer (Isaksen 82), Anderson, Onyeka, Mabil (Vibe 67); Kaba (Madsen 82)
Ref: Sidiropoulos (GRE)