Inter Milan played out a goalless draw with Atalanta in Bergamo, extending their lead at the top of Serie A to two points.
Simone Inzaghi’s side arrived at the Gewiss Stadium eight points ahead of their fourth-placed opponents, but the two sides looked evenly matched in the first half.
While there was plenty of attacking intent there were few clear-cut chances, with Edin Dzeko heading wide early on after a good cross from Marcelo Brozovic. Alexis Sanchez drew an excellent save from Juan Musso after referee Davide Massa had missed a foul from Nicolo Barella on Luis Muriel in the build-up, before Matteo Pessina tested Samir Handanovic with a glancing header.
Inter finish with a win but fall short in Scudetto quest
Atalanta appealed for a penalty just before half-time when Mario Pasalic got in behind and went down under pressure from Ivan Perisic, but there wasn’t much in it. The teams went in with one shot on target each at the break but, despite their tentativeness in front of goal, it still felt like the game had the potential to burst into life.
It did just that with 48 minutes on the clock, Handanovic making a fantastic save after a series of one-touch passes had allowed Pessina to burst into space in the box. That became a theme of the second half, with the Inter goalkeeper denying Muriel one-on-one with 10 minutes to go and Pasalic at the near post not long afterwards.
Inter had their own chances to win it, with Dzeko wasting several good opportunities while Musso kept out Arturo Vidal and Danilo D’Ambrosio. Despite a frantic end to the game, neither side could find a winner and, ultimately, they were left to share the spoils.
TALKING POINT - Possible penalties?
As well as Pasalic’s tangle with Perisic in the first half, the hosts wanted a spot kick when Teun Koopmeiners went down in the box with 54 minutes on the clock. While Atalanta were limited to a 5,000 capacity owing to Covid, the home fans roared for Massa to award a penalty on both occasions.
While Perisic had his hand on Pasalic’s back there was little to suggest that he had unfairly grappled with his opponent, let alone shoved him over, while Koopmeiners went shoulder-to-shoulder with Alessandro Bastoni and seemed to be carried over by his own momentum. Ultimately, other than the missed foul on Muriel which almost allowed Sanchez to score, Massa can be satisfied with his performance.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan)
While both goalkeepers were excellent on the night, Handanovic just edges Musso on the quality of his saves.
While he did brilliantly well to stop Pessina from close range, his intervention to deny Muriel late on was the difference between a draw and a defeat. Throw in the way he kept out Pasalic’s drive from a tight angle and, all in all, it was a hugely impressive performance between the sticks.
Atalanta: Musso 8, Djimsiti 6, Demiral 7, Palomino 7, Pezzella 6, Koopmeiners 6, De Roon 6, Freuler 6, Pasalic 7, Muriel 6, Pessina 6. Subs: Miranchuk 5, Piccoli N/A, Zappacosta N/A
Inter Milan: Handanovic 9, D’Ambrosio 7, Skriniar 7, Bastoni 5, Darmian 6, Barella 7, Brozovic 6, Calhanoglu 6, Perisic 6, Sanchez 6, Dzeko 5. Subs: Vidal 6, Dumfries 6, Correa 5, Martinez 5, De Vrij 6
27’ ATALANTA FANS FUMING. Despite a fairly blatant foul from Barella on Muriel, play is allowed to continue and Sanchez races clear. He unleashes a shot which is pushed over by Musso, drawing a howl of indignation from the stands.
40’ PENALTY SHOUT! Atalanta appeal for a spot kick after Pasalic gets in behind on the right and goes down under pressure from Perisic, but it’s not really all that convincing.
48’ WHAT A SAVE! It’s brilliant from Atalanta, but even better from Handanovic. A burst of short passes allows Pessina to tear into space in the box, but the Inter goalkeeper throws himself in the way of the ball to deny him what looked like a certain goal.
54’ KOOPMEINERS GOES DOWN IN THE BOX. Once again, there’s nothing going. It looked like a shoulder-to-shoulder with Bastoni as opposed to anything underhanded.
81’ HANDANOVIC SAVES THE DAY! Muriel nabs the ball off Bastoni and goes one-on-one with Handanovic. With Skriniar sprinting back to cover, he gets a shot away only for the Inter goalkeeper to make a crucial save.
88’ D’AMBROSIO ALMOST WINS IT! The Inter defender bursts into the area and looks to slide a shot past Musso, but can’t beat the goalkeeper.
- As per Opta, Inter have kept a clean sheet in five away games on the bounce in Serie A for the first time in the era of three points for a win.
- Inter failed to score in a league game for the first time since January 2021 against Udinese, ending a run of 39 consecutive games in which they have netted at least once.
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