The Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo hosted a vibrant match between Atalanta and Inter that ended in a 1-1 draw as Alexei Miranchuk canceled Lautaro Martinez’s opener. There were plenty of chances on both sides, but the tie ultimately made a favor to Milan: If the Rossoneri beat Verona tonight, they will increase their lead over Atalanta and Inter to six and seven points respectively.
Both sides came from a testing mid-week effort in the Champions League and both came from a European disappointment – Inter conceding a 2-3 loss to Real Madrid and Atalanta devastated by Liverpool at the Gewiss Stadium.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s choices promoted debuting 18-year-old Matteo Ruggeri as left-wing back, with Alejandro Gomez and Ruslan Malinovskyi supporting striker Duvan Zapata. Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel started from the bench.
For Inter, Milan Skriniar made his comeback into Antonio Conte’s starting XI alongside Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni. Matteo Darmian replaced Ashraf Hakimi as left wing-back after the Moroccan’s disastrous performance against Real Madrid. With Romelu Lukaku recovered from his injury but still not ready from the start, it was up to Alexis Sanchez and Lautaro Martinez to lead the front-line.
The first chance in the game was for Lautaro Martinez but El Toro saw himself brilliantly denied by defender Cristian Romero.
Atalanta launched themselves into attack and Remo Freuler almost caught Samir Handanovic to surprise with a lob shot from out of the box. The Slovenian somehow managed to palm the ball away. Inter replied with Alexis Sanchez serving Lautaro Martinez into Atalanta’s area. The Argentine, however, squandered the chance from a favorable position.
Ruslan Malinovskyi did even worse as he turned Alejandro Gomez’s fine cross into a shot that aimed for the stars and hit them. Literally.
From a left side service, Hans Hateboer went for the kill in the middle of the box but was narrowly anticipated by Ashley Young. For Inter, there was an Arturo Vidal header that crashed above the bar as the Chilean failed to convert an Alessandro Bastoni cross.
At half time, the scoresheet still read 0-0 despite the match momentum being high and both sides showing they wanted something more than one point.
Inter moved in front 12 minutes into the second period as Lautaro Martinez headed home an Ashley Young cross from the left side. The Englishman did a great job in dribbling past Hans Hateboer and whipping the ball in the box but El Toro‘s conversion was definitely one that lived up to his fame as a hit-man.
Conte’s Nerazzurri were now pushing and it was up to Marco Sportiello to keep his side afloat with a double save on Arturo Vidal and Nicolò Barella. The Chilean took advantage of a mistaken pass in the midfield and proceeded to test Atalanta’s custodian, who was up to task both from his shot and from Barella’s follow-up.
Gian Piero Gasperini didn’t want to give up, however, and in the 72nd minute substituted defender Rafael Toloi with additional striker Luis Muriel. He also sent in young sensation Sam Lammers for Duvan Zapata. But Antonio Conte also had his trump card to play as he gave space to Romelu Lukaku and Ivan Perisic – replacing both men in his front line.
And still, to find the substitution that really changed the course of the game, we need to come back to 20 minutes earlier: Right after Lautaro’s opener, Gasperini had sent in Alexei Miranchuk for his Serie A debut. On 79 minutes, the Russian managed to draw level for the Bergamaschi with a sharp right-foot effort that slowly but effectively made its way past Handanovic and into the bottom left corner of his goal.
Atalanta hadn’t had enough and made Inter rattle when Luis Muriel sneaked between Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij to head from a Remo Freuler cross. Antonio Conte and his side had to thank the Madonnina of the Duomo in Milan for directing Muriel’s effort narrowly out of the target.
The game climaxed during stoppage time with one chance for each side: Danilo D’Ambrosio denied Miranchuk but did so with his leg dangerously outstretched and risked conceding a penalty – which Gasperini’s side loudly claimed. Immediately after, Marco Sportiello anticipated Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian was ready to pounce on the ball and finish from point-blank range.
It was a fair draw in the end, but one that was of little help to both Antonio Conte and Gian Piero Gasperini.
November 8, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 7
SCORERS: 59′ Lautaro Martinez (I), 79′ Miranchuk (A)
|ATALANTA (3-4-2-1): Sportiello; Toloi (73′ Muriel), Romero, Djimsiti; Hateboer, Pasalic (60′ Pessina), Freuler, Ruggeri (90′ Mojica); Malinovskyi (60′ Miranchuk); Gomez, Zapata (73′ Lammers) (Gollini, Rossi, Sutalo, Depaoli, Scalvini, Ilicic, Diallo Coach: Gasperini
|INTER (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian (83′ Hakimi), Brozovic, Vidal, Young (83′ D’Ambrosio); Barella; Sanchez (74′ Perisic), Lautaro Martinez (74′ Lukaku) (Stankovic, Radu, Eriksen, Moretti, Nainggolan, Pinamonti) Coach: Conte
REFEREE: Mr. Doveri from Roma
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Djimsiti (A), Lautaro Martinez, De Vrij, Vidal (I); Extra Time: 1st Half 0′, 2nd Half 3′