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Milan Player Ratings: Milan 3-2 Atalanta

Refs make the match closer than it seemed

Atalanta BC v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

AC Milan had a short trip to Bergamo to visit Atalanta before the international break. The lineup Stefano Pioli fielded was similar to the one in the Champions League affair against Atletico Madrid. Milan got off to a blazing hot start as they scored just 20 seconds into the match. Surprisingly it was Davide Calabria who opened up the scoring. Milan continued their good play throughout the half but Atalanta were still fairly dangerous on the counter. However, Milan held strong and near the end of the first half Sandro Tonali cleaned the pocket of Freuler and scored a goal to bring the Milan lead up to 2.

Milan continued their composed play to start the second half, holding Atalanta to very little chances. As the match went on Milan had chances but couldn't find that final touch to get the third goal and put the match away. Finally in the 78th minute that goal came. A beautiful Milan counter attack was finished by Rafael Leao who had an equally beautiful finish to bring the Milan lead to 3. Late in the match the referee took the game into his own hands and decided to make the match a little closer than it seemed. In my opinion the hand ball on Messias shouldn't have been given as the ball hit his thigh and then his hand. Nonetheless Milan got the job done and took away 3 points in Bergamo.

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STARTING LINE-UP

Mike Maignan: What an amazing signing Mike has been. Again, in this match he proved to be the best keeper in Serie A with game saving saves to keep Atalanta at bay. 8 /10

Davide Calabria: A pretty good performance from Calabria in this match. He opened the scoring with a good rebound goal even though he could have done better with the finish first time. 7/10

Fikayo Tomori: Like Mike, Fik has been absolute class. Tomori rarely makes a mistake on defence but when he does he can recover in an instant with his pace and amazing tackling ability. 8/10

Simon Kjaer: Kjaer struggled to contain Zapata for a good portion of the first half. As the match went on he settled in and played physical with Zapata making him feel his presence. 6.5/10

Theo Hernandez: Going forward Theo had a very good match but defensively he did struggle. Theo collected two assists so it is hard to give him a bad rating but Theo does need to improve defensively. 7/10

Sandro Tonali: Tonali has been a monster this season and this match was no different. He was all over the pitch and was great in the pressing phase of the match. His great pressing lead to a one versus one chance in which he buried it calm, cool and collected. 8/10

Franck Kessie: This was probably Franck’s best match of the season. He looked more like the Kessie we saw last season. Kessie still needs to continue to string performances like this together. 7/10

Alexis Saelemaekers: Alexis had a few nice moments in this match, specifically his dribbling in tight scenarios. I really do wish he would have finished that head to put Milan up 3 but it was a nice save by the keeper. It wasn't anything special but he put in a solid shift. 6/10

Rafael Leao: Leao had an up and down match. He had some brilliant dribbling moments and great linkup play and then on the other hand there we times where he was pushed off the ball too easily. Then came the amazing finish on the Milan counter to finish the match for Milan. 6.7/10

Brahim Diaz: Brahim didn't overly impress me in this match. There were some moments that he dribbled out of tight scenarios to get Milan out of trouble but nothing that really stood out. I have to mention his work rate as there were a number of occasions where he came back deep in defence to help. 6.5/10

Ante Rebic: Like Brahim, Rebic wasn't overly amazing but he did put in a good shift and he is doing well as he is playing out of position. Rebic works hard and his pressing is vital to the pressure that this team creates. 6.5/10

SUBSTITUTES

Junior Messias: A very unlucky match for Junior. I don't think his handball should have counted and I do believe that he was fouled on the second Atalanta goal. Other than that Messias looked decent and seems to play a similar type of game to Brahim. 6/10

Ismael Bennacer: N/A

Fode Ballo-Toure: N/A

Pietro Pellegri: N/A

Manager

Stefano Pioli: Pioli put on a tactical master class, outsmarting Gasperini. Pioli made his team build up in a different way as he tucked Theo more inward almost using him as a third midfielder during the build up phase. This was a great decision by Pioli as Theo struck early with an assist and then he assisted again late in the match to close the game out. A brilliant stroke of genius by Pioli. 8/10