Tag Archives: Atalanta

Benzema suffers Injury ahead Atalanta’s clash.

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The Frenchman has scored 17 times in all competitions this season and has netted in his last two consecutive matches.

Karim Benzema could miss Real Madrid’s Champions League game against Atalanta next week after Zinedine Zidane confirmed the striker was injured on Thursday.

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Benzema missed training on Friday morning and Zidane said he will not travel with the team for Saturday’s La Liga game away at Real Valladolid.

The club have not yet confirmed the specifics of the problem.

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“He won’t be with us tomorrow,” said Zidane in a press conference on Friday. “He has a problem and because it came up yesterday he won’t be there tomorrow. We’ll see for next week.”

Madrid might cope without Benzema against Valladolid but his absence for the trip to Bergamo in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday would be a huge blow.

The Frenchman has scored 17 times in all competitions this season and has netted in his last two consecutive matches.

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“We know what Karim gives us and how important he is for us,” said Zidane. “But we have to deal with this and get him back as soon as possible, like the others.”

Real Madrid have been plagued by injury problems in recent weeks with Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo also likely to miss Saturday’s trip to the Jose Zorilla Stadium.

Madrid sit six points behind Atletico Madrid in La Liga, having played a game more than their city rivals.

Zidane was also asked on Friday about Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, following the duo’s superb outings in the Champions League this week.

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In particular, Real Madrid have been regularly linked with a move for Mbappe, whose PSG contract expires in June 2022. “I watch all the games and I like to see great things like any fan,” said Zidane.

“They are both very good and very young, players of the present and the future. Whether I prefer one or the other, I won’t say, everyone has their own preferences.”

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#NobleSport

Final score: Atalanta 1-2 PSG


The whistle goes! PSG make it to the semis for the first time since 1995, breaking their modern-day quarter-final curse in stunning style! Atalanta were wonderful in this year’s competition and they can go home with heads held high.

2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
1-2
Pasalic (26′)
Marquinhos (90′)
Choupo-Moting (90’+3′)


Match Events


0′ Players are warming up before the game

0′ The match is about to start!

3′ Neymar misses an open goal!

11′ Navas makes a decent save!

18′ CLOSE! Neymar’s cross wide out

27′ GOAL! Atalanta 1-0 PSG (Pasalic)

28′ Neymar’s shot just wide out

35′ Neymar’s free-kick stopped by Sportiello

42′ Neymar’s shot flies into the sky

51′ Neymar’s free-kick blocked

58′ Djimsiti’s shot inches wide

60′ Subs! Mbappe in, Sarabia out

72′ Subs! Paredes & Draxler replace Herrera & Gueye

74′ Mbappe’s powerful shot stopped by Sportiello

77′ Neymar’s shot too weakly

80′ Mbappe’s shot blocked by Palomino

86′ Choupo-Moting’s header over the bar

90′ GOAL! Atalanta 1-1 PSG (Marquinhos)

93′ GOAL! Atalanta 1-2 PSG (Choupo-Moting)

Line-ups


Atalanta XI: Gomez, Zapata, Toloi, De Roon, Freuler, Djimsiti, Sportiello, Pasalic, Hateboer, Caldara, Gosens

Subs: Muriel, Palomino, Rossi, Malinovskiy, Castagne, Bellanova, Sutalo, Czyborra, L. Gelmi, Piccoli, Colley, Da Riva

PSG XI: Thiago Silva, Navas, Herrera, Gueye, Neymar, Sarabia, Marquinhos, Bernat, Icardi, Kimpembe, Kehrer

Subs: Choupo-Moting, Paredes, Rico, Draxler, Diallo, Mbappe, Dagba, Bakker, Bulka, Mbe Soh, K. Ruiz-Atil, Muinga.

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Neymar and Mbappe remains PSG top priority, Ronaldo snubbed


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Neymar’s salary is more than Atalanta players salaries combined

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Barcelona ex-player was said to have left Camp nou for money, according to substandard rumours.

Looking at the income of Neymar at PSG, he’s the second highest earner in football directly after Leo Messi.

Atalanta players consisting of players in full squad on comparison with Neymar and still earns more.

Does this mean Neymar alone makes a team?

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Neymar 100% potentially ready for Atalanta


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Neymar 100% potentially ready for Atalanta

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Neymar has been impressive since returning to action for Paris Saint-Germain and Thomas Tuchel expects that to continue against Atalanta in the Champions League.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is convinced Neymar will play a pivotal role for his side against Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Neymar was on target in both legs as PSG dispatched Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 and has been in fine form since returning to action after Ligue 1 was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic in April.

Neymar in fine form for PSG
The Brazil international scored in warm-up friendlies against Le Havre, Waasland-Beveren and Celtic before notching the winner in the Coupe de France final against Saint-Etienne.

Tuchel is banking on Neymar again coming to the fore, particularly with Kylian Mbappé set to be limited to the role of substitute following an ankle injury sustained in the meeting with Saint-Etienne.

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“I have the impression there’s always a lot of pressure on Neymar. You can’t imagine the pressure that’s on Ney. But he is a lad who likes that, who’s used to playing with that pressure,” Tuchel told his pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

“We’re glad he has the possibility of finishing the match with Kylian [as] they like playing together a lot.

Neymar likes the pressure and the big matches
“He likes the big matches and he likes decisive matches. He’s a player you can trust in the big matches.

“I’m absolutely convinced he will put on a big performance and that he holds the keys for us, he has the mentality for situations like this.”

PSG defeated Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue final on July 31 to complete a domestic treble, with a final friendly against Sochaux taking place last week.

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The squad travelled to Lisbon for the Champions League finale following a short training camp in Faro and Tuchel believes they are ready for the challenge of knockout football.

“It is hard to play against Atalanta. It is a huge challenge but there are always possibilities,” he said.

“It will be a tactical game, but also a mental game. Our latest training sessions were a good mix of concentration and team spirit. We suffer together, but we also fight and play together.

“We all have the feeling we’ve prepared in the best fashion. For us it was really important to win the two finals.

“It wasn’t easy to restart after a four-month pause and then four weeks’ preparation to play two finals as the big favourites. That was a big challenge mentally for the players but to win was the best preparation for this tournament.”

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Atalanta to face their Doom ‘Neymar-Mbappe-Icardi’

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By mid-February, supporters of Atalanta were growing rather fond of this new normal.

After decades on the fringes of Italian football, the Serie A club had muscled their way on to Europe’s top table. And in their maiden Champions League adventure, Gian Piero Gasperini’s ragtag squad made history.

They became the first team to lose their first three group games and still reach the knockout stage. All while playing the fearless, attacking football that has characterised this modern miracle.

And so on February 19, more than 40,000 supporters left the city of Bergamo and the wider region, travelling 35 miles to the San Siro — Atalanta’s adopted home — for their last-16 first-leg win over Valencia. The tremors of that night are still being felt around Europe.

In Milan a ‘biological bomb’ exploded and by the time Atalanta returned victorious from the second leg in Spain, Bergamo was in the grip of a coronavirus epidemic. It would become one of the world’s hardest-hit cities.

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Hospitals and cemeteries were overwhelmed, with military vehicles soon carrying bodies to be burnt elsewhere. The city’s news-paper’s obituary section swelled from less than a page to more than 10. Every day. It is now widely believed that the crowning glory of a footballing fairytale helped cause the devastation.

On Wednesday night, Gasperini’s side rise from the ashes to resume their European adventure — the only Italian team still standing — when they meet Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon in the first of the quarter-finals. And the winds of change are swirling once more.

‘People here are defined as cold people. Now I think it’s different,’ explains local reporter Carlo Canavesi. ‘The people are more united.’ And for Atalanta, a sense of destiny is bubbling — maybe death and devastation can give way to an historic triumph.

‘The people here are now saying nothing is impossible,’ Canavesi adds. ‘They believe they can win the Champions League.’

A big screen would usually be erected in Bergamo city centre. On Wednesday night, though, most are expected to watch from home. Normality is returning but scars of the virus remain.

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Bergamo is a city of only 120,000 people, its team a blend of young talent, journeymen and signings from the shadows. Their stadium failed to meet UEFA standards and their wage bill (around £30million) is less than Neymar’s yearly salary. But under Gasperini they have become one of the continent’s most exciting teams.

Not much embodies Atalanta’s abandon better than their 8-4 aggregate victory over Valencia, when they scored four home and away. On Wednesday, however, they will miss Josip Ilicic. The 32-year-old scored all four goals in the second leg. He auctioned off the match ball to help the fight against Covid-19 and is the club’s top scorer.

But he will not feature in Lisbon, with reports suggesting he has returned to Slovenia amid struggles with his mental health. ‘We miss Ilicic very much,’ said coach Gasperini.

Nothing illustrates the grim spread of Covid-19 better than the three weeks between those two legs against Valencia. Before the San Siro meeting on February 19, Italy had only three cases. By the time Atalanta flew to Spain on March 9, Bergamo was part of a quarantine zone and the second leg was behind closed doors.

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After that 4-3 win at a deserted Mestalla, Atalanta’s squad held up a shirt which read: ‘Bergamo, this is for you. Never give up.’ That day, the number of cases in the wider Bergamo province reportedly reached 1,472. ‘As soon as we touched down in Bergamo, that happiness vanished almost completely,’ said defender Mattia Caldara. ‘To find the streets empty was a blow to the heart.’

Over the following months, around 6,000 excess deaths in the area could be attributed to coronavirus. Meanwhile, more than a third of Valencia’s playing and backroom staff later tested positive and Spain’s total cases soon outstripped Italy’s.

By April, when Bergamo should have been preparing for a first Champions League quarter-final, sirens and church bells had become the soundtrack to the city. It is claimed that at one point the virus was taking lives at a rate of nearly one every 30 minutes.

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But a strong bond exists between Atalanta and its city, where every baby is sent a kit and two bottles of milk. So as the virus spread, Bergamo came together. Among the gestures, Atalanta bought equipment for a new field hospital. Ultras helped build it in 10 days.

And then, 103 days after that first leg, football returned. Some Atalanta supporters chanted ‘shame’, opposing the return at a time when there were not enough tests for medical staff.

Now, though, the mood has changed. Last month, for the first time in 137 days, the intensive care unit of Bergamo’s main hospital was Covid-free. And, given the horror of recent times, the biggest game in Atalanta’s history now carries even more weight.

‘Everyone wants to cancel the past,’ Canavesi says. ‘And Atalanta is an important way to do this.’

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Final score: Juventus 2-2 Atalanta

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Game is over and the final score is Juventus 2-2 Atalanta. Here is the match report.

2019/2020 Serie A
2-2
Ronaldo (55′ PEN)
Ronaldo (90′ PEN)
Zapata (16′)
Malinovskiy (80′)


Match Events


0′ The match is about to start!

0′ KICK-OFF! Who can win this match?

10′ Yellow Card! Bernardeschi booked

16′ GOAL! Juventus 0-1 Atalanta (Zapata)

29′ Yellow Card! Cuadrado booked

34′ NICE TRY! Dybala’s shot wide out

43′ CLOSE! Ronaldo’s header wide out

55′ Penalty Goal! Juventus 1-1 Atalanta (Ronaldo)

73′ Yellow Card! Rabiot booked

80′ GOAL! Juventus 1-2 Atalanta (Malinovskiy)

90′ Penalty Goal! Juventus 2-2 Atalanta (Ronaldo)

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Line-ups


Juventus XI: Ronaldo, Matuidi, Bonucci, Szczesny, Cuadrado, Danilo, Dybala, Rabiot, Bernardeschi, Bentancur, De Ligt

Subs: Buffon, Higuain, Chiellini, Pjanic, Douglas Costa, Ramsey, Sandro, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Rugani, M. Olivieri, Simone Muratore, Wesley

Atalanta XI: Gomez, Zapata, Ilicic, Toloi, Palomino, De Roon, Freuler, Djimsiti, Castagne, Gollini, Hateboer

Subs: Muriel, Rossi, Tameze, Sportiello, Pasalic, Malinovskiy, Caldara, Gosens, Bellanova, Sutalo, Czyborra, Colley.

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Atalanta brutally defeats Valencia in Last 16 Champions League Tie


Atalanta have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after an enthralling 4-1 victory over Valencia at their adopted home of the San Siro on Wednesday night.

La Dea’s expansive style of play put Valencia to the sword as a brace from Hans Hateboer and strikes from Josip Iličić and Remo Freuler secured a commanding first-leg lead.


The hosts started brightly and with a quarter of an hour gone, they had their lead. Skipper Papu Gómez played in an inviting low cross for Hateboer to tap in his first-ever goal for the club.

Atalanta were a real threat in the first-half, their tendency to overload the flanks with their wing-backs caused problems for the visitors on the counter-attack.


But against the run of play, Valencia almost hit an equaliser. A quick free-kick caught Atalanta out, clever movement from Ferran Torres put him in on goal, but the angle was tight and he struck the woodwork.


The away side would rue those missed chances as on the stroke of half-time Illičić received the ball on the edge of the area, worked an opening and thrashed it beyond Jaume Domenech and into the top corner.

Then just before the hour mark, it was three. Gómez again involved, the loose ball spilt to Freuler who cut in from the left and whipped a curling effort into the far corner.


Valencia’s Maxi Gómez then had a golden chance to grab a crucial away goal but, unmarked in the middle of the goal, he fired straight at Pierluigi Gollini.

Minutes later, and unbelievably, Atalanta had their fourth goal of the night. Hateboer had his second as the full-back finished a move that quite simply ripped the Spaniards apart.


But the goals didn’t stop there, a sloppy ball was expertly taken advantage of by Valencia substitute Denis Cheryshev who rifled an unstoppable shot across the keeper and into the net.

Los Che had yet more chances to reduce the deficit as Atalanta refused to batten down the hatches but the scoreline remained the same.


La Dea performed miracles to make it into the knockout stages, limping out of Group C as runners-up with just seven points from six games.

However having earned their place in the last 16, it appears the stage fright has disseminated and Gian Gasperini’s side suddenly look at home in Europe’s elite competition.


#NobleSport…

1-1: Handanovic’s magic save spare Inter Milan


Samir Handanovic was the hero as his late penalty save earned Inter a 1-1 draw with Champions League hopefuls Atalanta at San Siro.

I Nerazzurri broke the deadlock early on through the prolific Lautaro Martinez, as he capitalised on a defensive slip to lash the ball beyond goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini.

It was almost two minutes later as Martinez again went close, but his effort was cleared off the line as the visitors struggled to get a foothold in the game. Romelu Lukaku was impressive in a first half display that saw Inter’s aggressive style of play push Atalanta onto the back foot, but there was disappointment as a second goal failed to materialise.


Lautaro Martinez,Romelu Lukaku
The visitors could – and perhaps should – have had a penalty when goalscorer Martinez seemingly tripped José Luis Palomino in the box, but their appeals were rejected and Inter took a narrow lead into half time.

Atalanta were much the stronger side in the second half, and almost levelled the game through a superb Ruslan Malinovskiy strike, only to see his curling effort clip the outside of the Inter woodwork.

But their resilience and determination to get back into the game was rewarded with 15 minutes to go, when Robin Gosens expertly flicked the ball beyond Handanovic to set up a nervy ending to the game.

if anybody was going to win it, Atalanta were – and they came mightily close to edging ahead as


Alejandro Gomez crashed a powerful drive against the crossbar.

But their real chance came in the dying embers of the game, as Alessandro Bastoni was penalised for a foul in the box, giving Atalanta the chance to take all three points back to Bergamo.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-INTER-ATALANTA
But Luis Muriel’s subsequent spot-kick was saved brilliantly by Handanovic, who parried the effort away low down to his right-hand side, snatching a valuable point for the league leaders.

The point puts Inter just ahead of Juventus at the top of Serie A, but La Vecchia Signora can return to the summit if they can beat Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.


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Atalanta ↪ Juventus transfer negotiations.


…Juventus Agree €35m Deal With Atalanta for Swedish Wonderkid Dejan kulusevski.


Juventus appear to have reached an agreement with Atalanta for the transfer of highly-rated Swedish midfielder Dejan Kulusevski.

The 19-year-old has been on loan at Parma this season, impressing in his maiden campaign in Italy’s top flight.

He’s been linked with a move to a number of high profile clubs across Europe, with Manchester United and Inter among those who have been touted as a potential destination.


But prominent Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano – who is a reliable source of information for heavyweight transfers in Serie A – has announced that a ‘total agreement’ has been reached between Juventus and Atalanta over a deal that will be worth €35m plus add ons.

Kulusevski will now prepare for contract talks with La Vecchia Signora, with bitter rivals Inter – who were initially tipped as favourites to conclude a deal – seemingly out of the running.


Romano’s confirmation, via his usual Instagram method, also states that Manchester United were never really in the running for his signature, despite media speculation to the contrary. Were Kulusevski to move to Turin, he would provide additional competition for a Juventus midfield already brimming with talent.

Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur, Blaise Matuidi and Emre Can are just a small sample of the midfield options available to former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who took charge of I Bianconeri in the summer.


Dejan Kulusevski

It’s likely that German international Can, who hasn’t really settled since joining from Liverpool, will be departing the club in January, though an obvious destination is yet to emerge. United, again, have been tipped as a possible destination, but a return to the Bundesliga also wouldn’t be out of the question.

As for Kulusevski, he may well finish the season on loan with Parma – given the success he’s had there so far this season. Then again, he may be called upon to input fresh impetus into Juventus’ stuttering defence of their Serie A title. Currently, Antonio Conte’s Inter top the table as they aim to held Juve’s eight-year domination of Italian football.


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Group C – After screwing Shakhtar Donetsk, Atalanta reach last 16.

Atalanta reached the Champions League last 16 in their first season in the tournament on Wednesday after a 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in Group C.

The Italians, who were without a point until their fourth game in the campaign, joined Manchester City in the knock-out stages as Dinamo Zagreb failed to beat the English champions in Croatia, losing 4-1.

Timothy Castagne, Mario Pasalic and Robin Gosens scored in the second half for the side who finished third in Serie A last season to reach the top tier of European football for the first time.

The defending Ukrainian league and cup champions, who play their home matches in the city of Kharkiv due to the ongoing conflict in the east of the country, will play in the last 32 of the Europa League after the defeat.

Shakhtar coach Luis Castro kept faith with the side which beat Olimpik Donetsk on Friday, starting goal-scoring defenders Ismaily and Mykola Matviyenko.

Atalanta’s Gian Pero Gasperini made three changes to the starting lineup from the weekend’s victory over Verona including bringing in Gosens for the injured Josip Ilicic.

The visitors, who drew with City in November to avoid defeat for the first time in the European campaign, started the more positive.

Attacking midfielders Pasalic and Alejandro Gomez both failed to open the scoring despite superb chances in the first quarter of an hour.

Castagne broke the deadlock for the travelling side on 67 minutes despite VAR checking if captain Gomez was offside.

Midfielder Castagne slotted home from Gomez’s cross after tidy build-up play on the edge of the Shakhtar box.

The home side’s hopes of reaching the knockouts were dealt a blow after a bizarre refereeing decision.

Thorsten Schiffner sent defender Dodo off on 77 for striking an opponent but the right-back seemed to make minimal contact with Remo Freuler.

Gasperini’s men clinched their place in the club’s history books with nine minutes to play as Pasalic beat Andriy Pyatov with the slightest of touches from a Ruslan Malinovskyi free-kick hit from near the corner flag.

Gosens added the third in the fourth minute of injury time after a Taras Stepanenko defensive howler in his own penalty area.

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3-0: Mario Pasalic Gets Serie A’s Atalanta in winning days, dominated Brescia.

Mario Pasalic scored twice to get Atalanta back to winning ways with a 3-0 Serie A victory in a Lombardy derby at Mario Balotelli’s struggling Brescia on Saturday.

Pasalic nodded in the opener on 26 minutes, before grabbing a second after an hour with Josip Illicic firing in a late third to end Atalanta’s four-match winless run in the league.

The Bergamo side, boosted by claiming their first ever Champions League win against Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, are now level on points with fourth-placed Cagliari and Roma, who play later this weekend.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side had not won in Serie A since their 7-1 victory over Udinese a month ago.

“There was a bit of fatigue, we were scraping the barrel in terms of energy,” said Gasperini.

“I shouted at the players a few times to try to spur them on to close down the game.

“The Champions League doesn’t detract, on the contrary it gives us a lot.

“We’re facing teams used to being protagonists in their championships, used to attacking.

“We’re more tired, but we are training at a higher level and getting used to it.”

Italy forward Balotelli returned to the Brescia line-up having being dropped last weekend for his lack of commitment in training.

But apart from hitting the crossbar on 55 minutes, Balotelli rarely threatened as the promoted side fell to their sixth consecutive defeat to stay rooted to the bottom of the table.

The match was the first since the publication of a letter on Friday signed by the country’s 20 top-flight clubs saying “basta” (that’s enough) to racism in Italian stadiums.

Balotelli has been targeted by racist abuse since returning to Italy to play for his hometown club this season.

Atalanta dominated, with Pasalic connecting with a Timothy Castagne cross to head in early on.

The midfielder then scored his fourth goal of the season, having also netted against Manchester City and Udinese, with a back-heel flick from an Ilicic cross.

Slovenian Ilicic broke through for the third two minutes into injury time.

#Newsworthy…