Atalanta dealt AC Milan's European hopes a lethal blow with a late winner. However, the game won't be remembered for the 2-1 victory

Atalanta dealt AC Milan's European hopes a lethal blow with a late winner. However, the game won't be remembered for the 2-1 victory.

Minutes after giving away a second half penalty, Milan's Kevin Constant was the target of a banana being thrown onto the pitch by a group of Atalanta fans. The scene was not dissimilar to what happened in the match between Villarreal and Barcelona two weeks ago.

Atalanta had a defensive crisis, with Mario Yepes, Guglielmo Stendardo and Stefano Lucchini all injured. Luca Cigarini returned to the midfield, but Marcelo Estigarribia was suspended. Hotheaded forward Marko Livaja has been frozen out after insulting fans online.

Marco Amelia replaced the suspended Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal. Sulley Muntari and Keisuke Honda were preferred to Andrea Poli and Adel Taarabt, as Clarence Seedorf kept faith with the 4-3-1-2 formation which brought victory in last weekend's Milan derby.

Milan were second best for much of the first half. Denis was the home side's main threat. The frontman laid off for Carlos Carmona to fire a weak shot straight into Amelia's gloves. Denis flicked on a corner and Giacomo Bonaventura just missed stealing in at the far post.

Nigel De Jong's ambitious bicycle kick just missed the head of Philippe Mexes, while Cigarini floated in a free kick for an unmarked Maxi Moralez to head wide.

Milan woke from their slumber four minutes before the break. Mario Balotelli thumped the top of the crossbar with a free kick which flew through Andrea Consigli's gloves, before Riccardo Montolivo sent a shot into the side netting. Balotelli stung Consigli's palms with another set piece a minute before half time, and Honda nodded the rebound wide.

Stephan El Shaarawy made his first appearance of 2014 when he came on at the start of the second half.

Milan wasted the game's best chance four minutes after the break. Kaka headed wide from six yards after meeting Mattia De Sciglio's pinpoint cross from the byline. The miss didn't prove crucial, as a helping hand gifted Milan the lead two minutes later. El Shaarawy released Muntari, and the Ghanaian's slide-rule pass was turned into his own net by Bellini. The defender stuck out a leg to stop Balotelli from tapping in, but Balotelli was stood in an offside position, so the blow was even crueller for the Orobici.

Atalanta were handed a reprieve when they were awarded a penalty midway through the second half. Carmona went down under Constant and the referee initially waved play on, before a re-think saw him award the spot kick. Denis stepped up and coolly sent Amelia the wrong way.

Tensions threatened to boil over when Mexes and Cristian Raimondi went head-to-head. Both were cautioned and urged to cool their jets. Atalanta fans threw a banana onto the pitch towards Constant, which was met by sarcastic applause from Mexes and De Jong.

Atalanta had a chance to win it in the final ten minutes. Giuseppe De Luca found space between two markers and laid off for Moralez to lift his shot over the bar.

Late on, the Atlalanta wall did its job to repel a Balotelli free kick. Super Mario struck the far post in stoppage time. Consigli was rooted to the spot, as Balotelli let rip from the edge of the box.

Deep into stoppages, Atalanta stung Milan by finding a winner. Two substitutes combined, as Giulio Migliaccio teed up for Brienza to curl a beautiful shot into the top corner. The Atalanta bench emptied onto the pitch, while Milan came to terms with what just happened. Their European hopes now rest in the hands of others.

Atalanta: Consigli; Raimondi, Benalouane, Bellini, Brivio; Baselli, (Migliaccio 74) Cigarini, Carmona; Moralez, (Brienza 88) Bonaventura; (De Luca 68) Denis

Goals: Denis pen 68, Brienza 90 +6

Powered by Blogger.
My Blogger TricksAll Blogger TricksTechtunes