SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 24 - 16 Feb 2019 (19.30 UK)
Atalanta 1 - 3 Milan
Freuler 33 (A), Piatek 45+1, 61 (M), Calhanoglu 55 (M)
Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia

Krzysztof Piatek bagged a spectacular brace to complete the comeback as Milan conquered Atalanta 3-1 to consolidate fourth place.

The Orobici were just one point behind the Rossoneri in fourth place going into the packed Stadio Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo, so it was a showdown for the Champions League berth, with Roma and Lazio ready to leapfrog both in case of a draw. It was also a head-to-head between two Capocannoniere contenders, as Duvan Zapata had 18 goals in his last 12 competitive games, while Krzysztof Piatek scored 23 in just 25 appearances between Genoa and Milan. Cristian Zapata (who is Duvan’s cousin), Mattia Caldara, Jack Bonaventura and Pepe Reina were still out of action.

Berat Djimsiti had been an injury doubt, but was in the starting XI and had the first chance, nodding just over from a corner. Franck Kessie was fired up in his old hunting ground, but somehow steered a free header wide from close range on Suso’s cross.

Suso picked up a yellow card and will be suspended against Empoli next week, but Atalanta broke the deadlock at the end of a long and well-worked team move.

Josip Ilicic twisted and turned to leave Ricardo Rodriguez on the ground, pulled back for Remo Freuler and the shot from 12 yards squirmed under Gianluigi Donnarumma’s wrist, in off the inside of the far post.

Papu Gomez’s scorcher from distance flashed just wide of the far post, but Milan struggled to create chances or get service to Piatek.

Of course, it doesn’t take The Pistolero more than half-a-chance to create magic and he scored an absolutely spectacular equaliser on the stroke of half-time. Ricardo Rodriguez swung in a cross from the left, the Poland international got half his body in front of Djimsiti and swung an extraordinary left-foot volley into the far top corner from 12 yards, without even looking at the goal.

Atalanta came out fighting for the second half and pinned the Rossoneri back, but conceded another against the run of play. Hakan Calhanoglu had been blasting chances into Row Z all season, but on this occasion pounced on a poor clearance and his rocket arrowed into the far bottom corner from 20 metres. It was his first Serie A goal since May 2018 after 60 failed attempts.

Moments later, it was 3-1, as Piatek completed his brace with a towering header on the Calhanoglu corner, fighting to get in front of the much taller Duvan Zapata. There was to be no hat-trick, as Piatek made way for Patrick Cutrone, but he has six goals in four starts for the Rossoneri.

Donnarumma smothered efforts from Timothy Castagne and Kulusevski, but Atalanta were dispirited and Gasperini hauled off both Gomez and Duvan Zapata.

Milan emerged with victory and for the first time since April 2013 went undefeated in seven consecutive Serie A away fixtures. However, at the final whistle, Atalanta fans gave their team a standing ovation, appreciating the effort and performance.

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Atalanta: Berisha; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hateboer (Gosens 64), De Roon, Freuler, Castagne; Ilicic, Gomez (Kulusevski 59); Duvan Zapata (Barrow 78)
Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paquetá (Laxalt 87); Suso (Castillejo 77), Piatek (Cutrone 67), Calhanoglu
Ref: Pasqua