By Jerry Mancini.
Inter Milan failed to gain ground in Serie A table, dropping two important points following a 1-1 draw with Atalanta.
The match started well for Inter as Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku continued to show their good link-up play.
Martinez picked up a pass from Lukaku from outside the box and the striker found the back of the net, beating Pierluigi Gollini to score his tenth goal of the season.
Inter had a strong first half as they controlled most of the possession, but in the second period Atalanta turned the match around. La Dea dominated and Robin Gosens converted in the 75th minute to help the visitors.
The Nerazzurri were fortunate to leave San Siro with a point, as Samir Handanovic saved Luis Muriel’s late penalty to deny Atalanta the win.
Martinez had a chance midway through the first half, but it was cleared off the line by Berat Djumsiti, while Atalanta were close to tying the match earlier through Rafael Toloi.
“We came into this match without four players, something which highly significant for us at the moment,” said Inter boss Antonio Conte.
“We were up against a team whose strengths are the intensity and physicality with which they play.
“They are a good side and have a complete squad, one which has been constructed over the course of the past few years. This makes the journey we’ve been on up to now even more extraordinary.
“Last season, Atalanta finished ahead of us in the league, now we’re eleven points ahead of them. We have to be realistic, knowing that we need to continue working hard to keep on growing.”
Conte is right. Atalanta were able to apply pressure and make it hard for their opponents to create any chances in the second half. With players missing for Conte, it made the match much more difficult for his side.
While the result was not what Inter was hoping for, Stefano Sensi returned to the line up as a starter — his first start since November.
“My return to the pitch? I was physically well, even if it is clear that almost three months of inactivity feels funny,” said the midfielder.
“I am training with great intensity, I have not had any problems, and that is important.”
Despite not winning, Inter were able to extend their unbeaten streak to twelve league games, as their last loss came back in October against Juventus.
As for the league’s top goal scorers, after their two previous matches which saw them win both games 5-0, Atalanta put in a good performance overall and deserved to walk away from the match with a point.