Wednesday December 13, 2000
BERGAMO, Italy (AP) -- AC Milan goalkeeper Christian
Abbiati saved two penalty shots Wednesday against a relentless
Atalanta, as the northern powerhouse squeaked into the Italian
Milan, which won the first leg at home 4-2, held on for a one-goal
advantage in the two-game battle with Atalanta's 2-1 win Wednesday.
Abbiati made diving saves on two well-struck penalty shots -- in
the 30th minute by Cristiano Doni and the 88th by Nicola
Doni scored in injury time, but Milan held on despite the ejection
of Brazilian defender Roque Junior for a last-man foul that set up
Ventola's penalty shot.
"I told my players to forget the first leg and think of the score as 0-0
[rather than 4-2 from the first leg]," said a disgruntled Milan coach
"They didn't do that... We have to be more attentive, particularly
on long balls and set pieces."
Milan, which got a goal from Croatia's Zvonimir Boban, will face
Fiorentina in the semifinal, which begins in late January. The Florence
squad advanced earlier Wednesday, after a meaningless 3-1 loss to
Brescia followed Fiorentina's blowout win in the first leg.
At Bergamo, the hosts needed to recoup a pair of goals to hope
overtaking the mighty Milanese squad. Marco Nappi knocked in
a low, left-footed shot from just outside the area in the 13th minute,
and it looked like Atalanta was geared for the upset.
But Milan responded just seven minutes later, as Boban sent
a close-range short-hop blast off the hands of 'keeper Ivan Pellizzoli
into the left corner.
Atalanta continued its all-out pressing attack, as Nappi knocked
a header off the left post six minutes before half-time.
The Bergamo club pressed through much of the second half, with perhaps
the best chance coming in the second minute when Ventola knocked a
header that Abbiati knocked away just before crossing the goal line.