It was a game of two halves in Bergamo, as Atalanta dominated the first, Inter had the better of the second, and it ended goalless.
Gian Piero Gasperini had to do without Josip Ilicic, Leonardo Spinazzola and suspended Andrea Petagna, while Andreas Cornelius was not 100 per cent fit either, so 19-year-old Musa Barrow was given his first Serie A start. Luciano Spalletti had Marcelo Brozovic banned and Matias Vecino sidelined, but opted to rest Antonio Candreva, moving Joao Cancelo into a more advanced role.
Atalanta had not managed to keep a clean sheet against Inter in 11 consecutive matches, a streak dating back to March 2012, conceding 25 goals.
The hosts dominated the first half and Papu Gomez missed a sitter after five minutes, sent clear by Bryan Cristante only to turn wide with only Samir Handanovic to beat.
The offside trap failed again, as Barrow ran on to a through ball and stung Handanovic’s gloves at the near post. Remo Freuler then barged his way through the weak defensive line to test the goalkeeper, as Inter seemed completely disorganised.
Cancelo was caught in possession, sparking a counter-attack that saw Barrow turn inches wide. It was a siege and Handanovic got down for a desperate one-handed save to scoop Barrow’s downward header off the line, from which Inter went on the counter and Ivan Perisic’s shot was palmed over the bar in Etrit Berisha’s first intervention, 30 minutes in.
Perisic was again dangerous on the counter against the run of play from a Roberto Gagliardini long ball, his angled drive flashing across the face of goal to skim the far post.
Inter seemed a little more settled after the restart and Mauro Icardi completed a give-and-go with Perisic, but as he was about to pull the trigger, Hans Hateboer came sliding across for a decisive block.
Rafinha ballooned over from a promising Icardi back-heel flick and Berisha parried a ferocious Eder free kick, then Eder’s cross was nodded wide by Perisic.
Atalanta looked increasingly tired and in the final minutes were pinned back, Perisic with a shot charged down and Gagliardini turning off target from the rebound.
Atalanta were dangerous on the counter, but Handanovic at full stretch fingertipped the ball off Gomez’s foot and Hans Hateboer blasted over.
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