AC Milan were more than slightly fortuitous in recording a 3-0 win over Atalanta on Monday, with the rossoneri coming under heavy bombardment after taking the lead late in the first half. However, once Kaká netted their second -- and his 100th in a red and black shirt -- just past the hour, Atalanta's plucky resistance crumbled.
Milan made a bright start to the first half and should've been ahead after just three minutes, when Robinho volleyed a deep cross wide from close range. Young midfielder Bryan Cristante followed that up with a couple of great opportunities inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour, though his best effort cracked against the crossbar on his first Serie A start.
Atalanta looked to play compact and on the counter-attack, and did manage to restrict Milan after their bright opening. Massimiliano Allegri's side had to work increasingly hard to find any space between La Dea's rigid banks of four, though struggled to create anything meaningful when venturing forward themselves.
Unsurprisingly, it took a Milan counter for the deadlock to be broken, with a botched Atalanta set piece allowing the rossoneri to penetrate their back line for the first time. Urby Emanuelson charged up the field unchallenged and played in a simple pass for Kaká, whose calm finish brought up his 100th goal in the Milanese jersey.
Atalanta veteran Cristian Raimondi gave Milan a scare late in the first half by striking the woodwork, though the hosts maintained their slim advantage to the break.
Said advantage would've been cancelled out just five minutes after halftime, were it not for the referee harshly chalking off Yohan Benalouane's debut goal. The ex-Parma defender slightly nudged Milan's Philippe Mexès before slotting past Christian Abbiati, though the contact was sufficient for the referee to blow for a free kick.
Atalanta weren't disheartened, and created another great goalscoring chance five minutes later. Playmaker Maxi Morález wriggled into the Milan box and squared for the Germán Denis, though the usually oh-so-reliable striker's effort from point-blank range rebounded off the legs of a fortunate Abbiati. After cruising through the first half, Milan were suddenly on the rocks.
That was until Kaká broke Bergamascan hearts with his second goal, with 25 minutes of the match left. Substitute Mario Balotelli's low cross bounced conveniently for the Milan captain, who was left with a simple finish inside the six-yard box.
The floodgates had opened, and Cristante capped an impressive performance by adding a third, driving the ball low beyond Andrea Consigli for a third just a couple of minutes later. Balotelli should've helped himself to Milan's fourth, though his shot was kept out when one-on-one with the Atalanta keeper and the hosts were made to settle for a slightly flattering 3-0 win.
AC Milan: Abbiati; Emanuelson, Mexès, Zapata (Rami 83'), De Sciglio; Nocerino, De Jong, Cristante; Kaká; Robinho (Poli 74'), Matri (Balotelli 58')
Goals: Kaká (35'), Kaká (65'), Cristante (67')
Atalanta: Consigli; Brivio, Migliaccio, Stendardo, Benalouane (Brienza 74'); Bonaventura (De Luca 68'), Carmona (Baselli 19'), Cigarini, Raimondi; Morález; Denis