Atalanta vs Udinese 1-1: Exceptional Malinovskyi Strike Not Enough

Atalanta allowed a dramatic late goal on Sunday, splitting points with Udinese in a disappointing 1-1 draw.

Despite dominating possession, the hosts struggled to create chances, while Udinese seemed content to defend deep. Ruslan Malinovskyi seemed to spark Atalanta’s attack in the second half with a brilliant strike, but Beto’s header earned his side the draw.

The favorites began the match in a 3-4-3, with young centre-back Matteo Lovato earning the start alongside Jose Luis Palomino and Martin De Roon on the back line. De Roon, a midfielder, gave Atalanta the ability to flex into the attack, leaving the club with two true defenders.

Udinese responded with a 5-4-1, aiming to play defensively and create chances on the counter attack. Beto led the visitor’s attack, and Jens Stryger Larsen and Destiny Udogie played the roles of withdrawn wing-backs.

The opening minutes of the match were disappointing given the level of talent on the pitch. Atalanta retained possession, but La Dea failed to create any quality chances against Luca Gotti’s determined defense.


Despite Atalanta’s spell of dominance, a sudden break by Udinese’s Nahuel Molina and Jean-Victor Makengo almost opened the scoring. Released on a two-on-one, Makengo’s cross found the Portuguese at the back-post, but Juan Musso and the goalpost held strong.

Udinese’s next chance came over ten minutes later, when Molina received the ball on the right wing and broke into the box. As Lovato closed down the winger, he sent his shot wide of the goal.

As halftime approached, Atalanta responded when Duvan Zapata created a chance from the touchline. Dribbling around Samir, the striker found Josip Illicic in the box, but the midfielder poked the ball into the chest of Marco Silvestri.

The first half ended with the match still goalless. Though Atalanta had dominated with over 75% possession, the home side had managed just two shots.

Malinovskyi opened the second half with a skillful play. The midfielder weaved through Udinese’s compact defensive midfield, finding Zapata outside the box. The striker laid the ball off nicely for Ilicic, but again the Slovenian was unable to find his target.

Moments later, Malinovskyi gave Atalanta the lead with a candidate for goal of the year. The Ukrainian received the ball in space outside the box and fired a beautiful shot into the corner of the net, giving Silvestri no chance to save it. Atalanta seemed to foul Udogie to spark the attack, enraging Gotti and his players, but VAR was not implemented to review the play.

Just when it seemed that Atalanta had gained the upper hand, Gian Piero Gasperini replaced Zapata and Ilicic with Luis Muriel and Aleksei Miranchuk. The substitutions seemed to give Udinese confidence, and the club began to aggressively mark Muriel, limiting his time on the ball.

Atalanta nearly allowed an own goal in the last moments of the match. Facing the net, Lovato stumbled into the ball, sending it precariously toward the bottom corner. However, Musso made a wonderful dive, barely clearing the ball from the line. 

But Udinese were not quite finished. A corner kick found the head of Beto, and the striker confidently headed the ball down into the net. It was a heartbreaking draw for Atalanta, whose form continues to underwhelm this season.