REFEREE: Mr. La Penna from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Ederson (A), Reijders, Jovic, Bennacer (M); Red Card: Calabria (M); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 6′


Luis Muriel chose the perfect moment to score his first goal this season as his late back-heel winner helped Atalanta have the upper hand in a 3-2 rollercoaster ride against Stefano Pioli’s Milan.

The Nerazzurri needed to get back to winning ways after their unexpected collapse at Torino last Monday. Their performance at the Gewiss Stadium was overly convincing, with Ademola Lookman bagging a brace and Charles De Ketelaere turning into an assist provider despite missing a few too many chances.

Gian Piero Gasperini won it with his changes as the late introduction of Muriel and Aleksei Miranchuk was instrumental in taking the three points on offer after Milan had managed to cancel La Dea’s lead twice.  For Pioli, this is going to be another sleepless night despite Olivier Giroud coming back to the scoresheet and Luka Jovic scoring for the second week in a row.  

The Milan tactician recovered Giroud upfront after the Frenchman served a two-match ban. With Rafael Leao still unavailable, his slot as left winger was taken by Samuel Chukwueze, with Christian Pulisic covering the right wing. Theo Hernandez was once again deployed at center back due to the chronic shortage of central defenders that Pioli is experiencing this season.

Milan attacked more from the start, but Atalanta had the first chance of the night on eight minutes. Lookman headed the ball for De Ketelaere, but the Belgian cared to remember the Rossoneri why they offloaded him to Atalanta last summer as he sent it crashing into the stands from and incredibly advantageous position.

The Rossoneri’s reaction resulted in much ball possession but no real threats for Juan Musso, save for a Fikayo Tomori’s volley that hit Ederson and then bounced into the Nerazzurri goalkeeper’s hands.  

De Ketelaere continued to give display of his poor aim as he saw another shot of his pushed back by Mike Maignan with the whole goal in front of him, even though the action was eventually disallowed.  

Atalanta had their lead on 38 minutes as they took advantage of the Rossoneri’s carelessness from a throw in in their defensive third. Lookman stole the ball as Milan tried to build up their play and dribbled past three red-and-black jerseys. His shot found Tomori’s unlucky deflection that made the ball bounce past the hapless Maignan.

Giroud equalized in the dying seconds of the first half with his trademark move, a clinical header to slot the ball past Musso from an Alessandro Florenzi corner kick. But the momentum quickly turned back into Atalanta’s favor right after the restart.

On 50 minutes, a Giorgio Scalvini screamer forced Maignan to another tricky save, but the Rossoneri wall held for just five more minutes. Lookman exchanged the ball with De Ketelaere, then fired himself into Milan’s box to receive it back from the Belgian and whip it into the back of the net again.

Pioli had to reshuffle his cards as he sent in Ismael Bennacer for an inconsistent Chukwueze, then introduced Jovic to partner with Giroud upfront. But things didn’t change in the short term as it was once again up to Maignan to keep his side afloat.

The French custodian had to come up with a fantastic double save, first pushing back a Scalvini shot, and then palming the ball away right on the goal line from Lookman’s tap in attempt, preventing the Nigerian from sealing his hattrick and taking the ball home.

Milan made it 2-2 on 80 minutes as Jovic found himself in the right place in the middle of the box, ready to whip the ball past Musso from a sharp Pulisic cross from the left flank.

It was then Gasperini’s turn to come back to the drawing board, but the Italian tactician quickly came up with a double change that had an immediate impact on the match. Gasperini sent in Muriel and Miranchuk, and the Russian striker soon forced Davide Calabria into committing a foul that earned him a second yellow and an early walk to the changing rooms.   

With one man less and seven minutes of added time to play, Milan had no option but defend themselves and were pegged back into their own box. Atalanta’s third goal was an obvious consequence of that, but La Dea’s winner came in a spectacular fashion. It was Miranchuk to steal the spotlight once again with a fine pass for Muriel, even though the Colombian did something even more brilliant than that, flipping the ball past Maignan with a lightning-fast back-heel touch.

Tomori gathered his last energies to produce a shot that ended narrowly off target, but there was no time left. Atalanta came back to winning ways after four games, while dark clouds gather in Milanello as the Rossoneri prepare to travel to Newcastle for their last Champions League group stage game.  

 

MATCH SCORECARD

December 9, 2023 – Serie A 2022-2023 Round 15
ATALANTA – MILAN 3-2

SCORERS: 38′ Lookman (A), 45’+3′ Giroud (M), 55′ Lookman (A), 80′ Jovic (M), 95′ Muriel (A)

ATALANTA (4-3-1-2): Musso; Zappacosta, Djimsiti, Scalvini, Ruggeri (98’ Holm); Pašalić (87’ Adopo), de Roon, Éderson; Koopmeiners; Lookman (82’ Miranchuk), De Ketelaere (82’ Muriel) (Carnesecchi, Rossi; Bonfanti, Del Lungo, Hateboer, Zortea, Colombo, Manzoni, Mendicino; Cissé) Coach: Gasperini
MILAN (4-3-3): Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Hernández, Florenzi; Loftus-Cheek (72’ Jovic), Reijnders (88’ Adli), Musah; Chukwueze (59’ Bennacer), Giroud, Pulisic (Mirante, Nava; Bartesaghi, Simić, Krunić, Pobega, Romero, Traorè) Coach: Pioli

REFEREE: Mr. La Penna from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Ederson (A), Reijders, Jovic, Bennacer (M); Red Card: Calabria (M); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 6′

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