Josip Ilicic led Atalanta to humble AC Milan with a 0-3 defeat in the Italian Serie A at the San Siro on Saturday, January 23. The brilliance of the 32-year-old Slovenian striker was one of the tools Atalanta used to slam AC Milan with their second defeat this season.
The visitors started the game looking more determined to get the entire three points. Their attacking style of football landed them the first goal of the match in the 26th minute through a header from Cristian Romero.
After the first goal, Atalanta continued to dominate the match but were not able to score another goal until the end of the first half. When the first half kicked off, Atalanta continued to press AC Milan until Josip Ilicic was brought down in the penalty area by AC Milan’s Franck Kessie.
Josip Ilicic stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake, putting Atalanta two goals ahead. In the 77th minute, Duvan Zapata added to the woes of AC Milan by scoring Atalanta’s third goal of the match.
The defeat reduced AC Milan’s lead at the top of the Serie A table to two points above their local rivals, Inter Milan. While the win took Atalanta into the top four with 36 points in 19 games.
Josip Ilicic was the star man of the game as he was involved in virtually every attacking move Atalanta made. He was so brilliant that he attempted 7 take-ons, 7 shots, three of which were on target, and suffered 5 fouls.
More so, Josip Ilicic made three successful take-on, he created three chances, won one penalty, and scored a goal. In the 82 minutes he spent on the pitch, Ilicic made 78 touches and made three key passes.
On the other hand, AC Milan’s talisman Zlatan Ibrahimović was nowhere to be found in the match as he couldn’t do as much as Josip Ilicic did for Atalanta. At the end of the game, the football veteran admitted that things didn’t go well for AC Milan, noting that the club’s players would have to make up for it in their subsequent games.
“A lot went wrong today. I don’t want to look to excuses, as in every game you must go out there looking to get the result. We didn’t manage that today,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia after the match.
“The important thing now is to recover our energies and focus on the next game. Fortunately, that is only a couple of days away, so we have the chance to make up for it.
“After 19 rounds in which we’ve lost only two games in Serie A, I think that’s not too bad. Unfortunately, when you are missing so many players and have some inexperienced ones to come on in their place, you can tell.
“That is not an excuse. We are working hard and making sacrifices. We are the winter champions, but that means nothing to me, other than I guess we’ve done well so far. The difficult part begins now.”
AC Milan’s next game is against their City rival Inter Milan. It is a Coppa Italian quarter-final match which is scheduled to take place on January 26, at 20:45.