Two teams with attacking intentions struggled to break each other down at San Siro and it’s goalless at half-time between Inter and Atalanta.
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Inter welcomed Atalanta to the Giuseppe Meazza on Monday night, with a chance of going six clear at the top of Serie A with a win.
And the Beneamata stormed forward to win a corner after only 30 seconds, showing their intentions to attack Gian Piero Gasperini’s men.
But La Dea are an equally attacking side and responded with the same intent early on, living up to the expectations of end-to-end stuff in Milan.
Atalanta wing-back Robin Gosens had a threatening cross on the ground after nine minutes, but no Atalanta player could get at the end of it and Inter cleared.
Inter coach Antonio Conte was arguing with the referee over a possible foul after 11 minutes and was eventually booked for dissent.
Romelu Lukaku matched Cristian Romero for pace after 14 minutes and forced the defender to send a difficult lofted pass back to Marco Sportiello in goal, who had to be creative and used his head to clear for a corner.
Duvan Zapata was up against Milan Skriniar, and won the one-on-one by getting to the line, but his finish from a tight angle went wide.
Atalanta enjoyed much of the possession in the first 20 minutes and managed to peg Inter back at times, trying to roll the ball around patiently and wait for an opportunity.
But Inter were compact and waited out the pressure and seemed frightening on the counterattacks.
A through ball found Lukaku battling his way towards the target after 24 minutes and he used his power to get past Berat Djimsiti, who was doing everything he could to stop the Belgian forward from running clear on goal.
The ball wobbled in Lukaku’s path and Djimsiti managed to get back and got a toe on the ball, before Lautaro Martinez’s attempt from outside the area was blocked by the defender.
None of the goalkeepers were really tested by the attackers in the first 30 minutes, as the match became quite physical as it went on.
Good play from Robin Gosens at left, as he found enough space to cut a cross back towards Zapata, but Samir Handanovic got there first before the Colombian clattered the Inter keeper.
Atalanta had to big chances in quick succession from Gosen’s corner kicks, first with Zapata, who forced a reaction from Handanovic in goal.
Zapata did well to win the header against Skriniar, who was all over the striker, but a fantastic save by the veteran between the sticks only made it another corner.
Then Djimsiti won the header, but Marcelo Brozovic was placed on the post and cleared the finish.
Atalanta continued to push for the opener and Inter were doing well to keep the Orobici out at the end of the first half.
Inter were close right before the end of the half, as Lukaku threatened to get at the end of a cross from the left, but the two teams went in at the break without scoring.
Inter 0-0 Atalanta (half time)
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Perisic; Lautaro, Lukaku
On the bench: Radu, Gagliardini, Sanchez, Vecino, Kolarov, Sensi, Ranocchia, Young, Eriksen, D’Ambrosio, Darmian, Pinamonti
Atalanta (3-4-2-1): Sportiello; Toloi, Romero, Djmsiti; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pessina, Malinovskyi; Zapata
On the bench: Rossi, Gollini, Palomino, Lammers, Muriel, Caldara, Kovalenko, Ruggeri, Ghislandi, Miranchuk, Ilicic, Pasalic