The Parthenopeans’ inability to silence the Yellow and Blues on Sunday night cost them a ticket to Europe’s elite club competition
Franck Kessie was on target twice as AC Milan ended their 2020-21 campaign with a 2-0 away victory over 10-man Atalanta.
A goal in each half by the Cote d’Ivoire international helped the Red and Blacks subdue Gian Piero Gasperini’s men on Sunday night.
Unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions, AC Milan travelled to the Gewiss Stadium having in mind that anything short of victory would end their Champions League qualification hopes.
Nevertheless, they put a good fight and sealed all points at stake as Atalanta ended their impressive campaign in defeat.
With the first half of the keenly contested affair heading for a 0-0 draw, the visitors were awarded a penalty by referee Maurizio Mariani following a foul in the hosts’ area.
Theo Hernandez played a one-two to burst into the Black and Blues’ box, He got taken out by Joakim Maehle – prompting Mariani to point to the spot.
The Ivorian took the ensuing kick and sent the ball confidently into the bottom left corner of Pierluigi Gollini’s goal.
Atalanta came out stronger in the second half, albeit, they were unable to find their way past Milan’s backline.
Their ambition of picking at least a draw faded into thin air as their opponents got a second penalty during added time.
Diogo Dalot cut back from the right for Hakan Calhanoglu. Calhanoglu fluffed his shot but Robin Gosens thoughtlessly had his arm raised and the referee pointed to the spot.
That decision caused a bit of uproar among Atalanta’s players and Marten de Roon got sent off in the process for violent conduct.
Again, Kessie made no mistakes in sending the ball past goalkeeper Gollini. With this result, Stefano Pioli’s men finished in the second position and ultimately booked a ticket to next season’s Champions League.
Elsewhere, Victor Osimhen’s Napoli settled for a place in the Europa League following their 1-1 draw at home to Hellas Verona.
The tough Serie A showdown saw Amir Rahmani put the Parthenopeans’ ahead in the 61st minute after he was set up by Nigerian international Osimhen.
That lead lasted for just eight minutes as Ivan Juric’s team levelled matters through Marco Davide Faraoni.
Despite a late rally from Gattuso’s team, the game ended 1-1 – and that ruled Napoli out of the Champions League – as Juventus decimated Bologna 4-1 away from home.
While the Super Eagle was in action from start to finish, Senegal’s Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaly were not named for the cracker.