AC Milan's Champions League qualification hopes suffered a major
blow as they were beaten 2-1 at Atalanta on Wednesday.
Milan even took the lead in a match being replayed behind closed doors after the
original clash in early November was abandonned after just seven minutes due to
rioting in the crowd.
The European champions dropped to 10th place in the league as their hosts jumped
up from 11th to sixth with the victory.
Match-winner Fernando Tissone dedicated the victory to Atalanta president Ivan
Ruggeri, who is fighting for his life in hospital after suffering a brain
haemorrhage last week.
"That victory is for the president, he is foremost in our thoughts," Tissone
told Sky Sport. "We tried to win for him at Genoa (at the weekend) but didn't
The dropped points mean Milan remain 10 points off the crucial fourth place spot
but now have just two games in hand on Fiorentina.
They have also won just six of their 17 league matches this season - a sorry
statistic for the champions of Europe and the world.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti complained that his team did not deserve that result.
"We played really well in the first half without getting the score we deserved.
We had the chance to increase our lead but going into the break at 1-1: we
deserved more," he said.
Gennaro Gattuso opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a fortuitous strike when
the ball dropped to him on the edge of the area after Atalanta half cleared a
The Italy midfielder did little more than scoop the ball back into the area but
it took a wicked deflection off an Atalanta head and sailed past Ferdinando
Coppola in the home side's goal and into the bottom corner.
Milan were dominant and should have doubled their lead just past the half hour
mark through star Brazilian teenager Pato.
Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo hoisted a long ball forward but Atalanta
centre-back Morris Carrozzieri made a hash of his attempt at a headed clearance,
presenting the 18-year-old Pato with a clean run in on goal.
But Pato shot first time and sent Coppola the wrong way but curled his effort
just past the upright.
The hosts then hit the European champions with a shock equaliser with virtually
their first forward foray of the match.
Brazilian midfielder Ferreria Pinto crossed from the right and Tiberio Guarante
flicked the ball on to striker Antonio Langella at the back post.
His first touch was sublime and he took out two defenders with his left foot
before firing home at the near post past Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac with
Atalanta then took the lead midway through the second half after a defensive
gaff by Milan centre back Kakha Kaladze.
The Georgia international misread the flight of a long ball forward allowing
substitute striker Simone Inzaghi - the brother of injured Milan forward Filippo
- a clear sight of goal.
Inzaghi drew Kalac and then laid the ball off for Argentine Tissone to dink into
the empty net.
Inzaghi then forced Kalac into a save at the near post before Milan substitute
Ronaldo - on for Pato - escaped the offside trap but Coppola saved his near post
shot with his legs.
Chances were coming thick and fast and Tissone rattled the bar with a rasping
half-volley from the edge of the box that had Kalac well beaten.
Late on Kaka forced a smart save from Coppola who also came to the rescue deep
into stoppage time to turn behind a fierce long-range effort from Dutch veteran
Clarence Seedorf but Milan failed to exert the kind of sustained pressure needed
to break down Atalanta's stubborn rearguard action.