SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 18 - 23 Dec 2017 (17.00 UK)
Milan 0 - 2 Atalanta
Cristante 32 (A), Ilicic 71 (A)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Milan’s training retreat had little effect, as they were well-beaten 2-0 at San Siro by Atalanta, including ex-Rossoneri man Bryan Cristante.

They spent all week in a training retreat, trying to put the humiliation of the 3-0 loss to Hellas Verona behind them. Hakan Calhanoglu returned from injury, but was only benched in favour of Patrick Cutrone, with Alessio Romagnoli and Suso suspended. Gian Piero Gasperini fielded ex-Milan men Andrea Petagna and Bryan Cristante, eager to build on their four-match unbeaten run.

Milan have only won one of their last seven league meetings with Atalanta. That was a 3-1 result away in May 2015.

Nikola Kalinic was perhaps fortunate VAR wasn’t used after 10 minutes for his very high and dangerous studs-up tackle on Rafael Toloi’s shin.

VAR was used four minutes later, as Jack Bonaventura had the ball in the net, but he was clearly offside and Cutrone handled, so the goal was disallowed.

Etrit Berisha got down to palm a Riccardo Montolivo daisy-cutter round the near post, but Milan’s poor defending on set plays proved costly yet again.

Mattia Caldara’s header from a Papu Gomez free kick was half-heartedly spilled by Gianluigi Donnarumma and Cristante was quickest to react on the rebound.

Berisha almost gifted an equaliser straight away with his clumsy clearance, but Bonaventura’s scissor-kick was charged down.

Donnarumma was extremely fortunate that Marten De Roon’s foul was called just before he let an easy shot slip through his hands and legs to roll into an empty net.

Matters got worse after the break for Donnarumma, as ultras in the Milan end hurled insults at him when the ends switched over.

Franck Kessie drilled just wide and Berisha smothered a Ricardo Rodriguez snapshot, while Hans Hateboer flung himself in the path of Kalinic’s strike like a human shield.

Borini was trying to shoot from all angles, coming closest with a splendid volley from the D that whistled just wide. Atalanta were also dangerous on the counter, but Josip Ilicic’s finish was weak and Leonardo Bonucci performed a decisive tackle one-on-one to halt Gomez.

However, a similar situation paid off moments later. Gomez released Leonardo Spinazzola with an inspired cross-field pass and he rolled it across for Ilicic to tap in. Bonucci tried to cut out the assist with a sliding interception, but missed.

It was almost 3-0, as Donnarumma palmed away a Remo Freuler snapshot and fans started leaving the stands.


Milan: G Donnarumma; Abate, Musacchio, Bonucci, Rodriguez; Kessie, Montolivo (Biglia 82), Bonaventura (Calhanoglu 75); Borini, Kalinic (Andre Silva 82), Cutrone
Atalanta: Berisha; Toloi, Caldara, Masiello; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Spinazzola; Cristante (Kurtic 80); Petagna (Ilicic 64), Gomez
Ref: Fabbri