Sports

AC Milan end Atalanta’s title hopes

Milan, Jul 25 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/25/2020 12:04:55 PM IST

Atalanta’s Serie A title chances were dealt a potentially fatal blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Milan at San Siro.

With Juventus having lost 2-1 in dramatic fashion to Udinese on Thursday, Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side would have moved within three points of the league leaders with a win.
Yet their hopes were virtually extinguished on Friday – Hakan Calhanoglu’s 14th-minute opener proving enough to secure a point for Milan, with Ruslan Malinovskiy seeing a penalty saved for the visitors prior to Duvan Zapata’s equaliser.
The draw leaves Atalanta’s fate out of their hands ahead of their final two matches and inched Juve closer to a ninth successive Scudetto.
Despite a bright Atalanta start, it was Milan who struck first – Calhanoglu catching Pierluigi Gollini out with a wonderful free-kick which curled into the top-right corner.
Atalanta were handed a chance to draw level when Lucas Biglia’s stamp on Malinovskiy in the box was spotted by VAR, only for Gianluigi Donnarumma to save the resulting spot-kick.
But, after Calhanoglu had rattled the crossbar at the other end – albeit from an offside position – Atalanta found their equaliser in the 34th minute, Zapata drilling home after Remo Freuler’s strike deflected into his path.
Alejandro Gomez went close with a wicked effort prior to the hour, though Atalanta were fortunate not to concede again when Alexis Saelemaekers’ close-range strike was blocked.
Atalanta’s frustration was almost compounded by their former player Giacomo Bonaventura when the Milan substitute hit the post with 17 minutes remaining.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic wanted a late penalty, claiming he had been fouled by Berat Djimsiti, but his appeals fell on deaf ears as both sides settled for a point, with a member of Milan’s backroom staff sent to the stands for his remonstrations at the referee’s decision.
It has been a remarkable title race in Serie A this season, but – despite their almighty slip-up on Thursday – Juve have one hand on the trophy. A win against Sampdoria on Sunday will definitely be enough and, depending on how Inter get on against Genoa and Lazio fare at Hellas Verona, a point may suffice.
Milan, meanwhile, sit in sixth, four points above Napoli and one behind Roma, as the Europa League race heads to the wire.

-Tags:#AC Milan

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