Atalanta 0-2 AC Milan: Post-match Analysis and notable performances

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AC Milan beat Atalanta away from home in the last game of the season by 2-0 at Gewiss Stadium. With this victory, the Rossoneri secured the UEFA Champions League qualification and finished in second place. 

Two goals from the penalty spot by Frank Kessie on either side of both halves gave all-important three points for Stefano Pioli’s side. And they have booked their place in the European elite competition for the first time in eight years. 

Following this week’s results, Juventus and the Rossoneri booked their place in the Champions League spot. The Champion Inter Milan have already secured their place along with Atalanta. And Napoli missed out on their chance after failing to beat Hellas Verona at home. 

Atalanta 0-2 AC Milan team news:

Gian Piero Gasperini went with his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation for this game. He made only two changes in his starting eleven from the midweek defeat against Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. 

Joakim Maehle started in the right-wing-back position for Hans Hateboer and Berat Djimsiti was named in the starting line-up on the left center-back for José Luis Palomino. And Duván Zapata led the line for La Dea

Stefano Pioli chose to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori started as the centre-back pairing. Milan’s player of the season contender Frank Kessie was in the midfield pivot with Ismael Bennacer. Rafael Leao led the line for the Rossoneri and Brahim Diaz started just behind him. 

Atalanta 0-2 AC Milan Post-match Analysis:

Even though it was a must-win game for Milan, Pioli went with a conservative approach against Gasperini’s Atalanta side. The main target was to utilize the space behind La Dea’s defense. That’s why the Rossoneri boss started Leao in the centre-forward position. 

Milan stayed compact and didn’t allow Atalanta any space. Alexis Saelemaekers helped out Davide Calabria in defense very well to cope with the threat of Robin Gosens. 

Atalanta had almost 70% of the ball possession throughout the game. However, they mainly had the ball in front of Milan. La Dea made only one shot on target and could not create a single big chance. 

Pioli’s plan was implemented when they managed to find space behind the Atalanta defense by the blistering pace of Theo Hernández. And the left-back earned a penalty which was calmly converted by Kessie. 

The story of the game didn’t change at all in the second half. Atalanta tried to find space between the lines but they ran out of ideas to create chances. The inclusion of Luis Muriel gave a breath of fresh air in the attack. However, his few attempts went narrowly wide. 

Milan could have doubled the margin earlier after producing a great solo run, substitute Soualiho Meite gave a pinpoint pass to Leao but his cheap shot came off the post. 

Eventually, they scored the second, very late in the game the referee awarded yet another penalty to the Rossoneri for a handball of Gosens which he knew nothing about. At this moment Marten de Roon lost his head and picked up a red card. After all of this action, Kessie took the penalty and converted it leaving the goalkeeper on the wrong side. 

Notable Performances:

Frank Kessie: Scored two penalties under pressure and worked tirelessly in attack and defence as well. 

Simon Kjaer: The Denise defender was absolutely at the top of his game. Blocked crosses, repelled almost every crosses that came from the other side of the field. 

Rafael Leao: Started the game to show his skill and speed. However, looked lacklustre and missed a great chance to score. 

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