STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan) – Alejandro Papu Gomez was unplayable on Tuesday evening as he drove Atalanta to a 2-0 defeat of Dinamo Zagreb for their first ever Champions League win to keep their chances of progressing alive.
The captain barely put a foot wrong all night, creating chances only to see his teammates squander them before the Bergamaschi got their lead and he doubled their advantage early in the second half, adding to Luis Muriel’s opener.
Atalanta have Papu Gomez to thank again as their captain inspired them to a first ever Champions League win to still be in with a chance of progression. @ConJClancy is at the San Siro for #FIFattheGames.
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) November 26, 2019
Gian Piero Gasperini was clear in his pre-match press conference that Atalanta would be getting at their visitors with nothing but three points on their minds and it showed early on. Hans Hateboer and Mario Pasalic both swung wildly at balls inside the six-yard box two minutes apart, and both will feel they should have opened the scoring inside four minutes.
Luis Muriel had his first of a few long-range shots straight after, but on this occasion it trickled into Dominik Livakovic’s arms. Pasalic then had another airshot from yet another Papu Gomez cross that he should have converted.
Robin Gosens has previous for European volleys for La Dea – netting a fine effort two years ago as they beat Everton 5-1 – and this time he rattled one off the crossbar. Muriel pounced on the rebound and was subsequently fouled for a penalty. Atalanta’s spot-kick record is poor, but the No.9 was composed and slotted home as coolly as could be imagined.
Muriel could have had another on a quick counterattack but fired over after doing well to get into the box. Hateboer had another effort then, this time seeing it cleared off the line.
Mislav Orsic provided the Bergamaschi with a scare when Dinamo should have already been out of sight. Cutting in from the left he curled a fine effort towards the far top corner which bounced back off of Pierluigi Gollini’s crossbar.
Papu Gomez had been outstanding throughout the first half and his efforts were rewarded just a minute into the second with his first Champions League goal. It was worth the wait, too. Showing his typically tricky footwork he found some space on the right to cut into before driving a low show across into the far bottom corner.
Atalanta kept pushing though. Muriel fired another wide from outside the area before limping off for Josip Ilicic. The Colombian’s replacement then had his own chance to make it three midway through the second half but curled wide, clipping the post, after being slipped through at the end of some patient buildup.
Even extraterrestrials have their defects though and Papu proved that by missing an incredible chance. Marten de Roon ventured forward and squared to the No.10. Unmarked in front of goal, the Argentinian’s effort was poor and straight at Livakovic.
Atalanta did need help from Manchester City though and they drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk, meaning the Bergamaschi can still progress by winning in Ukraine in the final group game.