AC Milan held by Atalanta as Koopmeiners responds to Leao’s masterpiece

Atalanta left Milan with a point and the happier of the sides as Teun Koopmeiners and Marco Carnesecchi saw them take a point from a Rafael Leao-inspired AC Milan.

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STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – With Rafael Leao‘s early stunner setting the tone, AC Milan would probably have hoped for a better outcome than a 1-1 draw against Atalanta on Matchday 26 of Serie A. With Teun Koopmeiners levelling from the penalty spot, it was a result that saw the Rossoneri lose ground on second-placed Juventus and fail to pull further clear of the Nerazzurri behind them.

Rafa Leao scored his first Serie A goal since September in fine solo fashion but the Rossoneri were pegged back before half-time by Koopmeiners‘ penalty and eventually failed to transform their supremacy into goals in the second-half.

With the draw, Atalanta extended their unbeaten streak in Serie A to 10 games and they will have the chance to overtake fourth-placed Bologna by beating leaders and champions-elect Inter next Wednesday.

Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners celebrates. [@Atalanta_BC]

Koopmeiners’ penalty cancels out Leao’s masterpiece

There was not even time for Atalanta to settle in a San Siro packed out with Rossoneri fans before they found themselves behind.

If anyone was wondering what version of Leao would show up, the Portuguese answered those doubts inside three minutes as he swiftly dribbled his way past Emil Holm and Giorgio Scalvini on the left before rifling past Marco Carnesecchi before the goalkeeper even had time to raise a hand.

AC Milan forward Rafael Leao watches his shot against Atalanta. [@acmilan]

Milan‘s early advantage came as a shock for a Nerazzurri side that took more than 10 minutes to show a reaction and threaten Mike Maignan‘s goal, but both Holm‘s volley and Berat Djimsiti‘s flicked effort were not enough to concern the Frenchman.

While Atalanta‘s attempts to reach their forwards were easily sniffed out by Milan, the Rossoneri were allowed to enjoy long moments of possession. But they failed to make that count by troubling Carnesecchi.

Atalanta, then, were able to take advantage and draw level as Olivier Giroud‘s was deemed to have fouled Holm in the box after VAR intervention. Koopmeiners coped with the pressure of the massive boos coming from the stands and dispatched to send the sides in at the break level.

Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners celebrates. [@Atalanta_BC]

Carnesecchi steps up to earn Atalanta draw

After a quiet opening 45 minutes, Charles De Ketelaere was replaced by Ademola Lookman at the start of the second half to bring life to what had been a toothless Atalanta attack until that point.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek‘s low drive, comfortably saved by Carnesecchi, was all that AC Milan were able to muster until the 60th minute, but they added to their list of opportunities shortly after through substitute Davide Calabria. The Rossoneri nicely moved the ball from left to right, where the full-back did well to control the ball and cut inside but eventually saw his left-footed effort brilliantly stopped by Carnesecchi.

Leao continued to offer glimpses of his talent and played an excellent long pass that saw Christian Pulisic send the ball just wide as he tried to poke it past Carnesecchi with a swift touch after having brought it down with a perfect touch.

AC Milan’s Rafael Leao celebrates. [@acmilan]

The hosts’ pressure on the Nerazzurri’s goal seemed to increase as the minutes went by and Carnesecchi was forced to palm away a fierce but central strike from Loftus-Cheek, which was to be Milan‘s last shot on target of the match.

And so Atalanta returned to Bergamo pleased with a point and in the knowledge that they have the head-to-head advantage over Milan, which could come into play should they finish level on points this season. For now, the Bergamaschi are fifth on 46 points, seven off the Rossoneri in third.

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