Newly promoted Monza, owned by former Milan politician Silvio Berlusconi, hoped to gain their first victory of the season on Monday. However, they faced an Atalanta side who were undefeated.
In the 2022/23 Serie A season to date, Atalanta had not conceded defeat, sitting in third with three wins and two draws. A draw against Milan and wins against Sampdoria, Torino, and Verona put the Bergamo outfit in a head start for contention to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, even though there’s a long way to go.
Historically, Atalanta defeated Monza four times out of five in their previous matchups. Monza is a team that has always flirted with relegation into Serie B – Italy’s second-tier division. However, the city northwest of Milan was promoted to Serie A for 2022/23, highlighted by their acquisition of Matteo Pessina.
The Monza-born midfielder Pessina made a name for himself during Italy’s reign at Euro 2020. Nevertheless, Monza sits at the bottom of the chart in Serie A, with two of their four losses coming at the hands of Napoli and Roma in the devastating fashion of shutouts.
A Homegrown Captain
On Monday night at Brianteo Stadium in Italy, Matteo Pessina played against his former club, Atalanta, where he recorded 67 caps before going on loan to the club representing his native Monza. The 25-year-old captain has displayed his well-rounded ability in the midfield, including his goal-scoring prowess, netting two with the Azzurri at last year’s European championship.
Atalanta became too much for Monza to handle
The relatively uneventful first half ended scoreless. Atalanta dominated possession for 46% of the first 45 minutes. However, Monza proved more active, recording 267 passes and six shots on target. Monza came out more fluid in the second half and maintained possession with inch-perfect pass accuracy. Nevertheless, Atalanta was the aggressor, committing several fouls while Monza avoided physical play. The Goddess’ unleashed four strikes, with three on target. Atalanta was on the prowl for a goal, with two attacking plays called offside.
Finally, in the 57th minute, Danish center-forward Rasmus Højlund came through with a goal, assisted by London-born midfielder Ademola Lookman to make it 1-0. Then, in the 65th minute, the doors open wide as Lookman was involved in what was recorded as an own-goal by Monza to make it 2-0. So, naturally, a two-goal lead caused Atalanta to sit back and let Monza bring the game to them. As a result, Monza maintained possession with several passes. But, as things went badly, thousands of shuffling feet at the stadium grumbled in defeat as Atalanta handed Monza its fifth consecutive loss.
The victory places The Black and Blues in first place atop Serie A.
Photo credit: IMAGO / NurPhoto
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