AC Milan’s winning run was ended by an impressive Atalanta in a 0-0 draw at San Siro in Serie A on Saturday.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side had won three games in succession to move themselves into fifth in Italy’s top flight prior to this weekend but they had to rely on the heroics of young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to earn a share of the spoils against Edy Reja’s men.
M’baye Niang – making his first start of the season – came closest for the home side in the first half but Atalanta took control after the break, with Luca Cigarini spurning the best of a number of chances.
Mihajlovic threw on both Luiz Adriano and Keisuke Honda in an effort to snatch a winner but there was nothing to separate the two sides in what was only their second draw in 19 Serie A encounters.
The result means Milan can be overtaken by both Sassuolo and Lazio should they win their respective games on Sunday, while Atalanta remain two points behind the Rossoneri.
Alejandro Gomez just failed to connect with Mauricio Pinilla’s teasing delivery after just six minutes, before Juraj Kucka came close to turning Alessio Cerci’s corner toward goal, as both sides pushed forward in an end-to-end opening 20 minutes.
Carlos Bacca raced clear of the offside trap and cut inside onto his right foot only to be denied by a block from Gabriel Paletta, before Niang flicked Cerci’s resulting cross beyond the far post.
De Sciglio was booked for a heavy challenge on Cigarini and Atalanta were left angry that a second yellow card was not forthcoming after he missed a clearance and kicked Pinilla.
The pace of the game slowed as the half drew to a close but Niang saw a low shot saved by Marco Sportiello after a bright run forward, and Niang was thwarted again by Sportiello on 50 minutes, bending a right-footed shot straight down the centre of the goal.
Milan survived a scare when Gomez went to ground in the area following a challenge from Davide Calabria, who replaced De Sciglio at the break, but the referee correctly showed the Argentine a yellow card for diving.
Cigarini had a moment to forget just past the hour mark as he wasted a golden opportunity for Atalanta. The midfielder headed down to draw a fine save from Donnarumma before he somehow contrived to turn the rebound over the crossbar with the goal gaping from five yards.
Morales drew another strong parry from Donnarumma at the near post before Marten de Roon fizzed a shot into the side-netting from 18 yards out as Atalanta looked the more likely to find a breakthrough.
The 16-year-old shot-stopper was again called into action to block Alberto Grassi’s effort with his legs following a strong run and cut-back from Gomez.
The hosts turned up the pressure late on, with Luiz Adriano’s header cleared away from the corner of the goal by Cigarini.
Cerci raced clear on the counter right at the death but could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle after rounding the goalkeeper.
There was to be no late breakthrough, however, as Milan dropped their first points since the 1-1 draw with Torino on October 17.