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Italy - Serie A
May 11, 2014
• Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 16985
G. Denis 68'
F. Brienza 90'+
G. Bellini 51' (own goal)
Shots on Target
Atalanta look to end the season with back-to-back victories when they travel to relegation-threatened Catania next weekend while Milan will look to bounce back against Sassuolo. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
Could that spell the end for Clarence Seedorf? The Dutch tactician has come under significant pressure in the past few weeks and Milan's almost inevitable failure to qualify for Europe could now pave the way for Seedorf's successor.
FT: Atalanta 2-1 Milan. Franco Brienza's stunning stoppage time strike ends La Dea's five-game winless run while seemingly ending the Rossoneri's pursuit of Europa League football. Gianpaolo Bellini's own goal had given Milan the lead but Atalanta never gave up and Brienza completed the turnaround after German Denis had equalised from the spot.
90' + 6'
Assist Giulio Migliaccio
90' + 6'
Goal Franco Brienza
WHAT A GOAL FROM BRIENZA! Milan hearts are broken with the final kick of the game as Brienza curls a stunning first-time effort into the top corner from Migliaccio's layoff. Stefano Colantuono races down the touchline in celebration. What a way to score your first goal for the club!
90' + 4'
BENALOUANE TO THE RESCUE! The Tunisian has dealt well with the threat of Balotelli all afternoon and he provides a brilliant header to deny the striker in the closing stages as his curling effort looked destined for the far corner.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Adel Taarabt
Taarabt picks up Milan's first booking of the game as he brings down Brienza in frustration after the Atalanta man had tricked his way beyond him excellently. Cigarini whips in the resulting free kick but Rami heads clear. Can Milan conjure up one last attack?
90' + 1'
BALOTELLI HITS THE POST! The enigmatic striker goes desperately close to finding the winner as his stunning strike from the right corner of the box crashes against the woodwork. Consigli did not move a muscle. So unlucky for Milan.
There will be FIVE minutes of stoppage time. Can Milan find a late winner?
Milan are looking to provide teasing crosses into the box for Pazzini to attack but Taarabt's delivery from the right is too close to Consigli who gratefully plucks the ball out of the air.
Atalanta are hoping to keep hold of their point and Colantuono makes his final change, replacing Maximiliano Moralez with Franco Brienza.
Time is running out for Milan to find a winner and another opportunity breaks down as Balotelli curls a shot over the bar from the edge of the box after being teed up by Taarabt.
BALOTELLI DENIED! The Azzurri striker steps up to take the set-piece but his powerful effort goes straight into the Atalanta wall. That was a poor effort.
Yellow Card Giulio Migliaccio
Migliaccio picks up the first booking of the game following a rash challenge on Taarabt on the edge of the box. Can Balotelli test Consigli again from a free kick? He has already struck the bar once.
Montolivo has not enjoyed one of his finest performances in the Milan jersey and he loses his footing at the crucial moment as he scuffs his shot from the edge of the box.
This game is really stretched in the closing stages and Atalanta spurn another presentable opportunity when Brivio fails to pick out a teamate after getting clear down the left. Will we see late drama at the Bergamo?
With Milan frantically searching for a winner to boost their European hopes, Seedorf makes his final change by introducing Giampaolo Pazzini in place of Kaka. Pazzini has only scored one goal in his last 13 Milan appearances.
ATALANTA GO CLOSE! With Milan throwing bodies forward, there is space for Atalanta to take advantage on the break. Firstly, De Luca sees his shot well blocked by Rami before Moralez then curls a shot inches over the bar.
Taarabt looks to make an instant impact as he cuts inside from the right before teeing up Montolivo on the edge of the box. However, the Milan captain's first touch lets him down and a good chance goes begging.
Milan respond by making a change of their own as Adel Taarabt replaces Sulley Muntari. An attacking substitution from Clarence Seedorf who knows that his side need to find a winner here if they wish to be in the driving seat for Europa League football.
Atalanta decide to make a second change as Giulio Migliaccio replaces Daniele Baselli. He should add more energy to the midfield battle.
There has been plenty of talk about racism in European football following Dani Alves' treatment by Villarreal fans and we have seen another terrible incident here as a banana is thrown at Constant. Disgusting behaviour.
There is a real edge to this game now with Atalanta desperate to halt Milan's surge for European football. Mexes is public enemy No.1 and is the target of hostile chants and jeers from the home crowd.
It's all kicking off here as Mexes and Raimondi are both booked following a heated confrontation. Mexes certainly needs to calm down as he applauds the Atalanta fans for jeering him.
Yellow Card Philippe Mexes
Yellow Card Cristian Raimondi
Giuseppe De Luca
Stefano Colantuono makes his first change of the game as Giuseppe De Luca replaces Giacomo Bonaventura. Can the youngster help Atalanta to turn this game around?
Penalty Goal Germán Denis
DENIS MAKES IT 1-1! The Argentine steps up and waits for Amelia to move before coolly steering the ball into the bottom right corner, with the Milan goalkeeper diving the other way. Game on!
PENALTY TO ATALANTA! Constant is the culprit as he clumsily steams in on Carmona and brings down the Chilean inside the box. Denis picks up the ball and prepares to take it.
Baselli has enjoyed a good game in the Atalanta midfield today but he cannot pick out the run of Denis as his through ball is just too heavy. Denis has struggled to test the Milan defence as he did in the first half.
El Shaarawy continues to impress after coming off the bench and he shows his pace to race away from Raimondi before picking out Balotelli on the edge of the box. The Italy international looks to surge beyond Benalouane and bend a shot into the far corner but the Tunisian defender stands him up brilliantly and makes a crucial block.
As things stand, Milan will leapfrog Torino and Parma into sixth place with the two fellow Europa League contenders facing each other later today. The Rossoneri certainly look good value for the final European spot at the moment.
Atalanta are pushing for the equaliser but Mexes produces a brilliant header to prevent Benalouane nodding in Cigarini's inviting free kick.
What is Rami thinking? The Milan defender inexplicably gives the ball away inside the box but he is fortunate that Bonaventura cannot take advantage from a narrow angle.
El Shaarawy has certainly made an impact from the bench and he races ahead of Raimondi to meet Kaka's cross from the right but can only glance his header wide of the target.
Bonaventura has looked tidy in the Atalanta midfield today but he cannot find the equaliser on this occasion as his angled drive is expertly blocked by the tireless De Jong.
There is a stoppage in play here as Montolivo receives treatment following a late challenge from Bellini. Will Milan go for the second goal or aim to preserve their lead?
Own Goal Gianpaolo Bellini
MILAN TAKE THE LEAD! It's a terrific counter attack from the visitors as El Shaarawy and Kaka combine to send Muntari clear down the left. The Ghana international slides a dangerous low pass across the goalmouth for Balotelli but Bellini gets a toe on the ball and diverts it beyond his own goalkeeper. Seedorf celebrates on the touchline - that could prove to be a crucial goal in their quest for Europe.
Milan have started the second half on the front foot but Montolivo cannot break the deadlock as his shot from the edge of the box blazes high over the bar.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR MILAN! De Sciglio has struggled to get forward regularly for the Rossoneri today but he does so brilliantly on this occasion before picking out the unmarked Kaka with a pinpoint cross, who can only send his header wide of the target. That should have been the opener for Milan.
Muntari has scored three goals against Atalanta - more than against any other Serie A club - but his ambitious shot from distance blazes high over the crossbar.
Stephan El Shaarawy
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and Milan, chasing a goal to boost their Europa League chances, get the game back underway. There has been a change for the Rossoneri as Stephan El Shaarawy, making his first appearance of 2014, replaces Keisuke Honda.
HT: Atalanta 0-0 Milan. It's goalless at the break after a well-contested 45 minutes at the Bergamo. It took both sides a while to get going but Atalanta looked the most likely to open the scoring, with German Denis causing all sorts of problems with his height and power up front. However, Milan responded well at the end of the half, with Balotelli thumping a free kick against the crossbar. The first goal here could prove decisive.
MILAN THREATEN AGAIN! Balotelli is looking dangerous from free kicks and he again calls Consigli into action as his dipping effort is punched clear by the Atalanta shotstopper. Rami then crosses the ball into the box from the right but Honda's downward header flashes narrowly wide.
Milan are in the ascendency at the moment but Montolivo spurns a good opportunity when he smashes a shot into the side netting from a narrow angle, with teammates better placed in the box.
BALOTELLI HITS THE BAR! Milan suddenly spring to life at the end of the half and they go close to opening the scoring when Balotelli's fierce free kick is tipped against the crossbar by Consigli. Can they find a goal before the break?
CONSIGLI MAKES A SAVE! Milan have their first shot on target as Montolivo chips a neat cross into the Atalanta box but Kaka's header is too central and Consigli is able to make a comfortable stop.
We have played 37 minutes at the Bergamo and Milan are yet to seriously test the Atalanta goal. Kaka and Honda, in particular, have been subdued with Balotelli cutting an increasingly frustrated figure up front.
ATALANTA GO CLOSE! Moralez is desperately unlucky not to open the scoring for Atalanta as his flicked header from Cigarini's free kick leaves Amelia stranded and flashes inches past the post. The Milan goalkeeper was getting nowhere near that one.
When Seedorf took over at Milan, they were ten points off the Europa League places. Prior to today's game, they trailed Torino in the final berth by just a solitary point.
Atalanta are looking the most likely to score at the moment and they threaten again when Bonaventura hooks an acrobatic shot over the bar after meeting Raimondi's cross from the right.
DENIS IS GETTING CLOSER! The Argentine is looking lively up front for Atalanta and he collects a pass outside the box before fizzing a left-footed shot inches past the post courtesy of a slight deflection off Rami.
Consigli is yet to make a save in the Atalanta goal but he breathes a sigh of relief here as Mexes fails to anticipate De Jong's overhead kick and watches the ball bounce ahead of him inside the six-yard box.
Denis is winning everything in the air at the moment and moments after he powers an effort narrowly wide of the goal, he flicks on a corner from the left which agonisingly evades the outstretched boot of Bonaventura at the back post.
Honda and Kaka are finding it difficult to make an impact on this game, with both players giving the ball away carelessly under pressure. Kaka attempts to test Consigli with a shot from the edge of the box but it is well closed down by Bellini.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR ATALANTA! The hosts win the ball excellently off Honda to set up a dangerous counter attack with Brivio finding Denis inside the box. The Argentine has his back to goal and he brilliantly tees up Carmona who sees his tame effort comfortably saved by Amelia. The Chilean should be doing better from there.
Denis is causing the Milan defence plenty of problems early on but he cannot test Amelia as he drags a shot well wide of the target from the edge of the box.
CHANCE FOR ATALANTA! The hosts come forward menacingly with Brivio down the left and he swings a teasing cross into the box which is glanced narrowly wide by the head of Denis. The Argentine clearly feels he should have done better there.
Balotelli makes a clever run behind the Atalanta centre-backs and is close to being picked out by Muntari's lofted ball. However, Bellini backpedals brilliantly to make a vital header.
Balotelli needs no second invitation to shoot and he looks to unleash an effort from distance, only to see Baselli close down his shot brilliantly. Neither goalkeeper has been tested in the opening 17 minutes.
Milan are looking dangerous from set-pieces here and De Jong again has a good chance when he fails to get sufficient contact on Honda's testing corner from the right.
De Sciglio wins a free kick out on the right when he is tripped by Brivio. Balotelli steps up and whips in a fantastic ball but De Jong, who scored the winner in the Milan derby last week, somehow fails to get his head on the ball from a few yards out.
Raimondi, in an unfamiliar full-back role, gets forward well for Atalanta down the right and he delivers a teasing cross into the Milan box which is flicked narrowly wide by the head of Denis.
Moralez has made a bright start for the hosts but he cannot unlock the Milan defence on this occasion as his well-disguised pass is slightly overhit for Denis.
CHANCE FOR MILAN! The Rossoneri break quickly from an Atalanta attack with Balotelli once again picking up the ball in a dangerous position. Kaka makes a neat run in behind Brivio but he cannot control Balotelli's through ball and a good chance breaks down.
Atalanta are pressing Milan high up the pitch and not allowing the visitors much time to settle on the ball. Montolivo, in particular, is being closed down quickly.
Atalanta have won 10 of their 18 home games this season - the third best record in Serie A.
Balotelli is fortunate to escape an early booking after he catches Benalouane with a high challenge. The Italy international will be hoping to add to his 14 league goals today.
Milan win the first corner of the game after Constant's shot is deflected behind by Moralez. Kaka whips it in from the left but it is well headed away at the near post by Denis.
Milan instantly threaten down the other end but Balotelli's through ball is just too far ahead of Montolivo who had made a brilliant run from deep. Bright start at the Bergamo.
Atalanta have a brilliant opportunity to take an early lead as Moralez and Denis combine brilliantly to send Carmona through on goal. However, the Chile international delays getting his shot away and De Jong tracks back brilliantly to make a crucial interception.
Nicola Rizzoli blows his whistle and Atalanta, in their traditional blue and black jerseys, get the game underway. Can La Dea dent Milan's Europa League hopes? Let's find out...
Since Seedorf took over at Milan, the Rossoneri have had the third best record in Serie A, behind Juventus and Roma.
The two teams emerge from the tunnel to a great reception from both sets of fans. Captains Gianpaolo Bellini and Riccardo Montolivo begin the handshakes between the respective sides. Today's referee is Nicola Rizzoli.
There is a terrific atmosphere in the Bergamo with all the Atalanta fans wearing blue and white hats, with many flags swaying in the wind. Milan were scheduled to wear their new third kit today but have been told by the officials that they must wear their away white strip.
There has been a lot of speculation this week surrounding the future of Clarence Seedorf at Milan. With many fans calling for a more experienced coach, failure to qualify for Europe could spell an early exit for the Dutch tactician. Can his side produce the goods today and give Milan a seventh league win in eight games? Kick-off is five minutes away.
The Rossoneri also won the reverse fixture back in January when a Kaka double and Bryan Cristante strike gave them a comfortable 3-0 win.
Milan have a good record at the Bergamo and have not lost there since 2008. Atalanta have only run out winners in this fixture three times since the 1984-85 campaign.
Milan bench: Coppola, Gabriel, Abate, Bonera, Zapata, Emanuelson, Essien, Taarabt, Poli, El Shaarawy, Robinho, Pazzini.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Amelia; De Sciglio, Rami, Mexes, Constant; De Jong, Montolivo, Muntari; Honda, Kaka; Balotelli.
Atalanta bench: Sportiello, Frezzolini, Caldara, Scaloni, Del Grosso, Migliaccio, Nica, Giorgi, Kone, Bentancourt, Brienza, De Luca.
ATALANTA (4-3-2-1): Consigli; Raimondi, Benalouane, Bellini, Brivio; Baselli, Cigarini, Carmona; Moralez, Bonaventura; Denis.
MILAN TEAM NEWS: Clarence Seedorf makes three changes to the team which earned a 1-0 Derby della Madonnina win over Inter last weekend. Marco Amelia replaces the suspended Christian Abbiati between the sticks while Sulley Muntari and Keisuke Honda come in to the midfield for Andrea Poli and Adel Taarabt. Stephan El Shaarawy starts on the bench, hoping to make his first appearance in 2014.
ATALANTA TEAM NEWS: Stefano Colantuono faces an injury crisis in defence with Mario Yepes and Stefano Lucchini joining Guglielmo Stendardo and Riccardo Cazzola on the touchline. Yohan Benalouane and Luca Cigarini come into the side while Marcelo Estigarribia is suspended. Inter-owned striker Marko Livaja has been frozen out following his online insults aimed at fans.
However, Stefano Colantuono's side do not boast similar good form as they have picked up just one point from their last five games after a run of six consecutive league wins which had made them surprise contenders for European football. Can La Dea return to winning ways and give their fans something to cheer in their final home game of the season today?
Hello and welcome to this live Serie A commentary between Atalanta and Milan where Clarence Seedorf's side look to continue their push for Europe. The Rossoneri looked dead and buried following Massimiliano Allegri's dismissal in January but Seedorf has breathed new life into the side and they have won six of their last seven matches to bring Milan just one point behind the final Europa League spot with two games remaining.
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