Atalanta and Inter Milan split the points in a less than thrilling match at the Atleti Azzurri D'Italia stadium. While the first half provided a good tempo and some entertainment -- plus two goals -- the second was very forgettable. It's Inter who needed the points more, but the visitors were unable to overcome Atalanta's first-half equalizer.
Stefano Colantuono provided a surprise when sending Atalanta out in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Marko Livaja and Maxi Moralez behind German Denis. Walter Mazzarri chose his expected lineup, except it was Mateo Kovacic playing as the trequartista, and Ricky Alvarez included in the central midfield trio.
With both teams looking to break fast after dispossessing the opponent, the first half provided plenty of pace and interest. The first big chance came in the 9th minute, with Fredy Guarin heading the ball off the line after a header from Michele Canini. Just a few minutes later, Mateo Kovacic sent in a cross and Rodrigo Palacio headed it down for Alvarez, who turned around and smashed it into the lower left corner of Andrea Consigli's goal.
Despite falling behind early, Atalanta weren't too shaken up. Their aggressive style paid off in the 24th minute. German Denis outjumped fellow Argentine Walter Samuel, directing the ball to the right side of Inter's goal. Samir Handanovic could only watch it flew into the back of the net. That's Denis's fifth goal of the season and seventh career goal against Inter.
The second half began with a substitution, as Handanovic had taken a knock. It was Juan Pablo Carrizo stepping in once again, and the substitute keeper managed to prevent the hosts from scoring again. But Inter, too, failed to score, although both sides had their chances. Mauro Icardi, on for Fredy Guarin, hit the post in the 73rd minute from 20 meters out. Veteran defender Mario Yepes had the best chance of the game ten minutes later. After a corner kick for Atalanta, Inter's defense left Yepes all alone just five meters away from the line, but the Colombian sent the ball straight to Carrizo.
Atalanta: Consigli; Stendardo, Yepes, Canini; Raimondi, Carmona, Cigarini (Baselli 74'), Brivio; Moralez (Migliaccio 81'), Livaja (Marilungo 65'); Denis
Goals: Denis 25'
Inter: Handanovic (Carrizo 46'); Rolando, Samuel, Juan Jesus; Jonathan (Taider 86'), Guarin (Icardi 66'), Cambiasso, Alvarez, Nagatomo; Kovacic; Palacio
Goals: Alvarez 16'