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Italy - Serie A
January 6, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: S. Peruzzo
• Attendance: 34187
Kaká 35', 65'
B. Cristante 67'
That's all that we have time for this afternoon, but we hope you have enjoyed our live Serie A coverage of Milan's 3-0 home victory against stuttering Atalanta. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Kaka's grabbed his 100th goal for the Rossoneri, before making it 101, alleviating the pressure on Allegri's side, before 18-year-old Cristante first Serie A goal wrapped up the win. The scoreline may have been slightly flattering, but nobody connected to Milan will mind.
FULL TIME! The referee calls a halt to a solid 3-0 win for Milan at San Siro, despite a spirited fightback from Atalanta at the start of the second half. Goals from Kaka and Cristante wrap up the win, as Rossoneri start 2014 in style.
90' + 2'
Milan are happy to stroke the ball around the back four, with Atalanta not particularly willing to press them intensely. De Sciglio earns what may possibly be the last applause of the game, skipping past his marker smartly with a side-step.
90' + 1'
We're into the first of three minutes of stoppage time at San Siro.
Milan continue to retain possession, in a rather calm San Siro. A three goal cushion provides a certainty that hasn't been present in too many recent Milan fixtures, and Allegri is currently sticking to his pre-match comments of aiming to finish at the club on a high.
POLI! The midfielder drives into the penalty area, choosing to sprint to the byline, rather than cut the ball back to the awaiting Balotelli in a congested penalty box. Consigli goes to ground to challenge him, and the ball skips up off the Milan man's knee, before making its way out of play for a goal kick.
BRIENZA! The substitute fires harmlessly wide of the post, forcing Abbiati into a dive, but the veteran goalkeeper retracts his hand due to being comfortable with its destination. He hasn't had a great deal to do in this game, but what he has done has been efficient.
Good clearance from Migliaccio! The central defender hoofs the loose ball clear, after a poor touch from Kaka. The Brazilian seems determined to net a hat-trick this afternoon, but with Atalanta dropping deeper, space isn't as forthcoming.
Abbiati claims a Cigarini free kick at the second attempt, as Atalanta continue to become more lacklustre by the second. Their bright start to the second half seems like a long time ago now, with the visitors looking consigned to defeat.
Milan are confident, breaking with plenty of red and black shirts, looking for even more goals in what is an already flattering scoreline. Rami comes on for the sore Zapata, making his first appearance for Rossoneri, despite training with the squad since October.
Zapata and Consigli collide, after the Atalanta goalkeeper punches away a free kick delivery, looking to clash after Consigli had already made contact with the ball. Both players were going for the ball, but the Colombian crashed heavily into the side of his opponent.
Just over ten minutes remaining, and Milan look very comfortable, as Atalanta flames of optimism appear to have been totally extinguished. Colantuono can be pleased with how his side started the second half, but the sucker-punch of conceding two goals in two minutes has ended any chance of a comeback.
Yellow Card Cristian Raimondi
KAKA! The Brazilian forces yet another save out of Consigli, before the rebound from Balotelli is again dealt with by the Atalanta goalkeeper. The Brazilian wants his hat-trick, ignoring the forward runner of Cristante, instead choosing to sting the palms of the opposition keeper.
Atalanta are looking to commit more players forward, with Milan having a rather lazy Balotelli leading the line. Given his recent illness, it doesn't seem likely that we'll see much in the way of an all-action performance, but the former Man City striker offers more of a threat in behind than Matri.
Both managers choose to ring the changes, as Atalanta look for more attacking options, while Milan look for fresh changes. The San Siro is far less tense than it way ten minutes into the second half, and Milan look set to take their first three points of 2014.
RAIMONDI! The right midfielder is found by a bouncing cross from Benalouane, but can't get good contact on his pivoting strike, firing it into Mexes. He's not afraid to shoot, that's for sure.
BALOTELLI! The Italian weaves his way around two challenges before driving past Migliaccio. He gets the ball onto his left foot, before hammering an effort towards goal, but Consigli makes a comfortable save. The substitute then tries to dive, to con the referee into giving a penalty, but the official tells him to get up.
DE LUCA! The substitute has only been on the pitch for a few minutes, but tests Abbiatti immediately! Atalanta will be wondering how this game has got away from them. From second half dominance, to conceding twice within two minutes.
Giuseppe De Luca
Goal Bryan Cristante
CRISTANTE! WHAT A STRIKE FROM THE YOUNGSTER! MILAN LEAD 3-0! Inexperienced, but excellent today! The 18-year-old finds the back of the net, leaving Consigli with no chance! The entire squad comes over to celebrate, and rightly so, as the youngster fires into the bottom corner from range, clipping the foot of the post on its way in.
GOOOOOOAL! KAKA GRABS HIS SECOND TO MAKE IT 2-0! The Brazilian nets again, to lift the pressure on Allegri's side, and to push on from his 100th Rossoneri goal. Balotelli finds Robinho in the penalty area, who miscontrols entirely, but the loose ball is pounced upon by Kaka, who converts from seven yards out.
AWAY BY ZAPATA! A Cigarini cross to the back post is dealt with twice by the Colombian defender, as he first heads the ball away to the edge of the box, before making a block. Atalanta continue to look the more likely side to pick up the second goal, as Allegri's side are being forced deeper and deeper into their own half.
BALOTELLI! The Italy international's first strike of the ball is a ballooning effort, which doesn't trouble Consigli whatsoever and makes its way into the stands behind the goal. He's found with an intelligent ball back to the edge of the box by Kaka, but he couldn't find the target.
DENIS! The Argentine is put through on goal, with Zapata using his pace excellently to catch up with the Atalanta striker, to deny him from striking across the exposed Abbiatti. Excellently covering from the Colombian, when Denis looked destined to equalise.
With half an hour left on the clock, this game remains well in the balance! Cigarini picks out Raimondi with an intelligent ball in behind Emanuelson, but the right-sided midfielder can't cut the ball back to Denis from the byline. Abbiatti claims the scuffed delivery.
ROBINHO! The Brazilian gets to the byline, squaring smartly and powerfully, but Consigli is again quick off his line to smother the intended cross. The former Santos man has been involved throughout, but is yet to provide that cutting edge that Rossoneri so desperately require.
Whatever Colantuono raged about in the dressing room at half time has certainly had an effect. The home side haven't looked as assured in the second half, with the Bergamo-based club having much more joy. Balotelli replaces the less mobile Matri, as Allegri looks for a two-goal cushion.
BENALOUANE! The new signing gets his head to a near post corner delivery, which is pounced upon at the second attempt by Abbiati, with Raimondi lurking. Balotelli is being readied on the sidelines, as Atalanta have really got back into this game.
FANTASTIC SAVE BY ABBIATI! Denis is denied by the goalkeeper, throwing his legs out instinctively to block a scrappy effort from the Argentine! A low drive into the penalty area cannoned off the lone striker, forcing Abbiati to make a smart stop!
Good defending from Zapata to remove the danger! Brivio fires a cross in search of Raimondi, before the Colombian steps in to hoof the ball into the stands. Atalanta take the throw-in quickly to Bonaventura, who swivels smartly before curling an effort that was always rising over Abbiati's top left hand corner.
BENALOUANE! It's not going to count! The new Atalanta signing has the ball in the back of the net, after cushioning a free kick delivery and smashing home at the back post beyond Mexes. Play has been pulled back for a slight nudge on Mexes, that was possibly harsh decision.
Another very poor delivery from De Sciglio, as the Milan right-back scuffs a low drive into the path of several Atalanta defenders. The youngster did well in the opening stages, but is fading terribly. Matri is ever-present in the box, but hasn't had the service.
Milan have started the second half in the same composed fashion as the first. Denis may have had a snapshot, but the hosts still continue to see more of the ball and look comfortable. Atalanta are still trying to frustrate the opposition in their organised banks.
Yellow Card Alessandro Matri
DENIS! The Argentine collects a knock-down from Moralez, before spiralling a cushioned effort way over the crossbar, with Abbiati untroubled. The Milan goalkeeper is still yet to be tested in this game.
And we are back underway in the second half! Milan lead 1-0 thanks to Kaka, and Atalanta need to improve massively if they are to get a foothold in this game. The Nerazzurri have looked lacklustre and short of attacking ideas.
Stick around and continue following the second half with us here, as Keisuke Honda looks likely to watch his new side pick up their first three points of 2014. If Atalanta get back into the game, Mario Balotelli is being held in reserve on the bench.
Milan have had more of the ball and more chances, with Cristante striking the crossbar and both Robinho and Matri having half chances. Atlanta struck the post thanks to a thunderbolt from Raimondi, but the hosts hold a deserved lead.
HALF TIME! Milan head to the dressing room with a slender 1-0 leader, with Atalanta coach Colantuono looks rather furious with his team's first half showing. Kaka is the solitary goalscorer, with his 100th for Milan, following a lovely composed finish.
45' + 2'
MATRI! Milan could have made it two, but Robinho's cut back from the byline is slightly too high for his teammate to deal with! Atalanta look to break, but their only forward runner is caught offside.
Two minutes of added time have been awarded at the end of the first half.
RAIMONDI! The midfielder strikes the top of the post with a ferocious effort, as the loose ball fortunately falls to his feet. It looked to take a slight deflection off De Jong, which just might have saved Milan's first half clean sheet! That was really travelling, the Italian got hold of that.
Matri is pushed over in Milan's penalty area, as the retreating striker returned to his own half to defend a set piece. Atalanta had a spare man over at the back post, who would have had a chance of scoring, but the clear shove on Matri denied the visitors the opportunity to convert.
Five minutes until the break, and Atalanta look to be facing a fiery Colantuono at the half time break. The away side's boss hasn't sat down for the entire first 45 minutes, pacing around and gesturing wildly. He isn't pleased with what his side have offered thus far at San Siro.
Atalanta continue to struggle going forward, with Denis feeding off scraps. The Argentine has barely been involved, so much so that there is always a spare centre-half to mop up any overhit long balls. Brivio is the only midfielder to have been readily involved going forward, the visitors' right hand side has offered absolutely nothing.
De Sciglio works well to win the ball back after Kaka gave it away, before supplying Robinho with the ball. The Brazilian has a strike which is deflected behind for a corner, but Milan can't create anything from the resulting set piece.
That goal is no less than Milan deserve, with Atalanta being caught out after committing too many men forward for a corner. When the hosts struggled to break beforehand due to the stout and numerous Atalanta lines, they weren't to be denied when the Nerazzurri were a little light at the back.
Assist Urby Emanuelson
GOOOOOOOOAL! IT'S 1-0 TO MILAN! KAKA CONVERTS! Emanuelson breaks powerfully following an Atalanta set piece, before sliding the Brazilian in behind Benalouane! He slots his 100th Milan goal across Consigli, with a composed finish!
KAKA! Great save from Consigli! The goalkeeper gets down well to his left, to push an on-target Kaka effort around the foot of the post! Despite being under pressure, the former Real Madrid man managed to get a shot away, but he was denied excellently.
Atalanta continue to frustrate, with plenty of Nerazzuri shirts around the edge of the visitors' penalty box. Milan keep pressing and looking to create gaps in the resilient Atalanta lines, but to no avail. Robinho has a strike from a tight angle, but Consigli collects easily.
NOCERINO! The midfielder finds himself deep in the opposition penalty area, and gets on the end of an unorthodox Matri flick-on. He can only head the ball directly at Consigli, despite claiming that Stendardo looked to foul him in the process.
Poor ball from De Sciglio once again, as Cigarini is able to clear the attempted near post delivery with ease. Despite all of their possession, Milan are missing a cutting edge, which Balotelli could add in the second half if Allegri wants to risk him.
Milan continue to have the better of the first half, stroking the ball around and giving plenty of the ball to Kaka. Allegri's men have only truly penetrated on two occasions, but they've looked bright. Atalanta remain organised and stubborn, clearly with their hearts set on keeping this game within their reach, should Denis get one good chance.
Poor delivery from De Sciglio, after the young full-back was fed the ball by Kaka. Milan have built up some good momentum when pressing forward, with their full-backs pushing up the field and the likes of Kaka, Robinho and Cristante scurrying in between the Atalanta lines.
KAKA! The Brazilian is nearly fed in behind enemy lines by a clever scooped flick from Cristante, but a cool header from Brivio back to Consigli prevents both Kaka and the lurking Robinho to connect with the intuitive delivery.
Milan continue to hold their shape well, preventing Atalanta's wide men from having any positive effect on this game. Denis is looking isolated, but the Argentine only needs a snapshot to convert. Strong, and good in the air, Milan need to remain alert despite their current comfortable position.
Mexes gives away a free kick about 25 yards from goal, allowing for Atalanta to try their luck and test Abbiati for the first time this afternoon. Cigarini takes it, but his effort is poor, bouncing before it reaches the target and nestling in the arms of the Milan goalkeeper.
Nigel de Jong is dropping extremely deep in between Zapata and Mexes, allowing for De Sciglio and Emanuelson to really push on, therefore allowing the likes of Robinho and Cristante to drift inside and provide some threats in behind Matri. Atalanta are struggling to get going offensively.
Carmona is down on the turf one again, after previously being clattered by his own goalkeeper, as Consigli punched away a dangerous cross. He's leaving the field looking in some discomfort, forcing Colantuono to make an early change, throwing on Baselli in his place.
Milan have looked promising in the opening stages, with young Cristante being involved in everything good that the home side have done. Atalanta seem happy to keep Milan at bay and do the absolute minimum, releasing Denis on occasion, with only Moralez as real support.
Excellent work from Matri! The former Juve striker turns smartly to evade a challenge, before playing Cristante in behind Brivio. The youngster centres in search of Robinho, but Consigli is quick off his line to punch away. Milan build again, with Robinho firing wide of the target from 25 yards.
CROSSBAR! Milan break quickly and efficiently, before Cristante strikes the top of the bar! Robinho is released on the left, before picking out the youngster with a good cross. He gets ahead of his man, flicked the ball beyond the helpless Consigli, but sees his effort cannon off the woodwork!
Mexes is fouled by Stendardo, as the Atalanta defender leaves the Frenchman on the turf holding his face, after being blocked off. That set piece looked well rehearsed, with Brivio being gifted an attempt to strike a volley from the edge of the penalty box, but his teammate's actions denied his side the chance for play to continue.
Milan have shown glimpses of quality in the opening ten minutes, despite having several key players absent. Atalanta break down the left, with Brivio eventually arrowing an attempted cross wildly out of play for a goal kick. His teammates aren't too impressed.
CRISTANTE! Matri drives into the penalty area, before opting to centre the ball instead of having an effort at goal himself! Lovely build up play involving the former Juventus man and Robinho, but young Cristante just couldn't get on the end of the square ball.
Mexes attempts to find Robinho wide on the left hand side, but the Brazilian fails to control what was a rather wayward ball from his teammate. After a composed start from the hosts, Atalanta are beginning to grow into proceedings a little more, with Robinho squandering plenty of early possession.
Nigel de Jong clears the first real challenge Atalanta advances, as the visitors struggle to get their foot on the ball, much to the animated frustration of Colantuono in his technical area. It's a rather flat atmosphere at San Siro, to mirror their rather poor Serie A season thus far.
Milan continue to dominate in the opening minutes, as Atalanta are forced further back towards their own penalty area. Emanuelson presses forward down the left, before trying to slide a ball down the channel. It's too heavy, however, and makes its way to Consigli.
ROBINHO! What a terrible effort! A swinging back post cross from De Sciglio picks out an unmarked Robinho, who has plenty of time to set himself for the volley. Instead of hitting the target, he drags his attempt wide of the post, before giving De Sciglio a thumbs up for the delivery.
Milan hold onto the ball composedly in the early stages, with Atalanta slowly beginning to press up the field. Robinho darts inside, but is stopped by an excellent sliding tackle from Cigarini. A useful start from the hosts, as Atalanta have only retained possession for all of three seconds.
We are underway in the first half at San Siro! Our referee for the game is Sebastien Peruzzo, and he gets proceedings going with the first blow of his whistle. Atalanta will be keen to move on from their heavy defeat to Juventus last time out, but Milan certainly aren't the same type of machine as Antonio Conte's side. Rossoneri need a victory here today.
Only a few minutes until kick-off, as Rossoneri bid to start 2014 in winning style, against a Atalanta side who are similarly stuttering in Serie A. Mario Balotelli is a major absentee, but there should be enough experience in the hosts' starting line-up to cause a few problems. Atalanta will be buoyed by their success against the same opposition last season.
German Denis has matched Mario Balotelli's scoring record in the first half of the season, managing six goals from his lone striker role. The Argentine will be key for any success Atalanta wish to have this afternoon, though last season Luca Cigarini was the hero for the travelling Nerazzurri, grabbing the only goal in a close victory at the San Siro.
Milan fans may well be worried heading into this match, with the combined firepower of Matri and Robinho yielding merely three goals in all competitions in the current campaign. Allegri has an unwell six-goal Mario Balotelli on the bench, but it's likely that the Italian boss would like to avoid using his star striker if possible. After being deemed ready for Serie A action, Cristante will be the man that Rossoneri fans hope will make a difference.
New Milan signing Keisuke Honda will be present in the stands for today's match, after finally completing his free transfer move from CSKA Moscow at the turn of the new year. Milan certainly need some inspiration, as they enter their first fixture of 2014 in 13th place, which has done little to promise Allegri a pressure-free last six months in the San Siro hotseat.
Atalanta substitutes: Sportiello, Yepes, Giorgi, Baselli, Canini, Del Grosso, Cazzola, Kone, De Luca, Brienza, Livaja, Marilungo.
Atalanta starting line-up: Consigli; Raimondi, Stendardo, Benalouane, Brivio; Bonaventura, Cigarini, Carmona, Migliaccio; Moralez; Denis.
Milan substitutes: Amelia, Coppola, Zaccardo, Silvestre, Rami, Bonera, Poli, Saponara, Balotelli, Pazzini.
Milan starting line-up: Abbiati; De Sciglio, Zapata, Mexes, Emanuelson; Cristante, De Jong, Nocerino; Kaka; Robinho, Matri.
TEAM NEWS: Yohan Benalouane starts for the visitors after his recent transfer from Parma, while Marko Livaja, Giampaolo Bellini, Setfano Lucchini and Lionel Scaloni remain absent from first-team action. Hitman German Denis leads the line for the away side, with the hosts only being able to stump up an inspiring forward pairing of Alessandro Matri and Robinho.
TEAM NEWS: Mario Balotelli starts on the bench for the hosts, after suffering a bout of flu this week, while Sulley Muntari misses out through suspension. Long-term absentees Stephan El Shaarawy, Valter Birsa, Ignazio Abate and Kevin Constant remain sidelined. Riccardo Montolivo joins them, after suffering an injury in training. Adil Rami completed his loan deal from Valencia this week, and is named on the bench, with youngster Bryan Cristante getting a rare start for Rossoneri.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you fully informed with all of the action from San Siro, as Allegri is forced to field a rather weak starting line-up due to various absences. Both sides have only managed one win in their last five matches, though Rossoneri have only been defeated at home in Serie A by the talented sides of Napoli and Fiorentina. Atalanta face a stern test to achieve maximum points.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Milan's important home fixture against Atalanta, with the visitors sitting merely one point below Massimiliano Allegri's side in the Serie A table. After admitting that he will leave the club in June, the Rossoneri coach promised to end the season on a high, with their first game of 2014 being seemingly a good place to start.
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