Leipzig-Atalanta, the choices of Tedesco and Gasperini
The Leipzig coach Domenico Tedescoborn in Rossano, in the province of Cosenza, and moved with his family to Germany at the age of two, hosts At the Red Bull Arena in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Europa League, Atalanta’s Gasperini – repeatedly defined as one of his international football models – with 3-4-1-2 (and just two indigenous players in the starting eleven): in goal there is the Hungarian Gulacsi, a defense line made up of the Croatian Gvardiol, the other Hungarian Orban and Klostermann, the Spanish Angelino and Henrichs on the outside lanes, Slovenian Kampl and Austrian Laimer (back from 4 goals in the last 4 seasonal outings, after having scored just 3 in the previous 61) in the heart of the green rectangle, the Iberian school talent Barcelona and Dinamo Zagreb Dani Olmo on the trocar and the French Nkunku with the Portuguese ex Milan André Silva in attack. The Goddess appears in Saxony with a 3-4-2-1 chameleonic ready to transform into 4-3-3 and 4-3-1-2 according to the different phases of the game: between the posts Musso, back pack with De Roon on the center-right, Demiral in the middle and Palomino on the left-handed side, Zappacosta and Hateboer at full range, Freuler and Koopmeiners in the median and the Pessina-Pasalic couple in support of the offensive terminal Muriel. On the bench Malinovskyi and Zapata.
Leipzig-Atalanta 0-1 in the 45th minute: Muriel’s masterpiece decides
Intensity and tactics dominate the first few bars, but the referee Oliver – who became famous in Italy for the penalty kick granted to Real Madrid, and then transformed by Cristiano Ronaldo, in the recovery of the return of the 2018 Champions League quarterfinals, effectively nullifying the Juve’s sensational comeback, ahead 3-0 at the Bernabeu in the 93rd minute – sanctioned by the Palomino yellow card after just two minutes and a few seconds. The first shot on goal, on the other hand, is by Nkunku in the 7th minute (author of 27 goals and 17 assists in 40 seasonal appearances so far), at the height of a nice descent ball and chain concluded without particularly troubling Musso. The transalpine bomber of Congolese origin has a new chance three turns of the hand later after a wraparound German action, but his first shot does not frame the mirror. Atalanta tries to sting in the 13th minute with an attempt by Zappacosta from a long distance which, however, crashes against the billboards. The game is balanced and a personal play is needed to shift the balance: Muriel takes care of it at 17 ‘, who slips away between two opponents, moves the ball from the left foot to the right one and then discharges it into the goal with violence and precision on the far post. 1-0 Goddess in Saxony with a Colombian’s masterpiece, in the third center of the season in the Europa League, to which one is added in the Champions League. The advantage galvanized the Nerazzurri, Demiral commands the defense and starts a sudden restart in the 21st minute, with the South American talent from Udinese coming close to a lightning double. Great opportunity for the hosts in the 25th minute: everything comes from one bloody ball lost by Pessinaa rebound favors André Silva at the penalty spot, the pole saves Musso, which then intercepts the following, insidious cross from Dani Olmo. Muriel still protagonist in the 33rd minute with a splendid control before being stopped by Orban, but the referee Oliver pardoned the Hungarian defender. The duel is repeated 5 ‘later, with the Colombian stopped in extremis at the moment of serving a teammate in the heart of the German area. In the first half final, Gasperini’s boys waste a potentially dangerous opportunity on the development of a corner with an unrealistic conclusion by Koopmeiners that ends in a curve (43 ‘), then close to 2-0 with Pasalic stopped by the outside post at the end of an incredible progression, a few moments before the referee’s double whistle.
Leipzig 1-1 Atalanta: Zappacosta’s own goal nullifies Muriel’s masterpiece
Gasperini intensifies Scalvini’s warm-up, presumably in place of Palomino – cautioned at the start and author of a second foul at the limit shortly after – but shows up at the restart with the same eleven of the first fraction, albeit moving to a fixed four-man defense. Same choice for Tedesco, who does not draw on the bench to free Dani Olmo from the “cage” built around him by De Roon. The script is the same: Leipzig’s slight advantage in ball possession and Atalanta relying on sudden flare-ups, like that of Pasalic in the 49th minute which leads to the powerful but central conclusion of Zappacosta. At the end of the action, for a previous, involuntary kick in the head of Gvardiol in Pessina, Oliver extracts the second yellow card of the match, while an extraordinary defensive intervention by Demiral exalts the many Bergamo fans who flew to Germany. At 53 ‘, therefore, Muriel engages Gulacsi with a razor burn to the right post neutralized in two stages, while Dani Olmo starts up 120 seconds later, but his shot from the edge finds the providential opposition from the back of the Turkish defender ex Juve. Key episode in the 56th minute: Nkunku juggles in the area, his feint confuses Demiral, the contact is light but punishable. Andrè Silva appears on the disk and Musso, already diving, raises his arm and pushes back with his recall hand, then is repeated on Dani Olmo’s header tap-in. Not even time to cheer, however, that one broken intervention by Zappacosta mocking the Argentine goalkeeper: all to be redone, at the Red Bull Arena it is 1-1 in the 58th minute. Gasperini’s reaction is a triple immediate change: out of Muriel, Pessina and Pasalic, inside Zapata, upon returning, Scalvini (confirmed in midfield after the good performance offered with Lazio) and Boga. On the opposite side of the field, however, Andrè Silva makes room for Forsberg. Resounding at 64 ‘: Boga starts at full speed and starts Scalvini, slalom in the area, rebound, Pasalic arrives who serves Zapata in the middle and again bank for the baby product of the nursery, with a deviation that denies him the joy of the goal by a matter of centimeters. On the developments of the corner, amazing pole of Koopmeiners, with the ball hitting Gulacsi’s back and ending again in a corner. On the overturn in front, however, Dani Olmo misses an easy close-up shot, while Freuler raises the white flag for a muscle problem, replaced by Miranchuk (67 ‘). At 69 ‘he tries to break through Zapata, but his blow from the edge does not take power. The Goddess increases the revs of her engine and it is still the Colombian bomber returning from a long injury who seeks his fortune from an impossible position, hitting Orban in full: from the throw of the flag, Demiral’s attempt is born, out of just a few (73 ‘). Tedesco sees his parents in trouble and plays the Halstenberg and Szoboszlai cards for Gvardiol and Dani Olmo. The last quarter of an hour seems like a monologue with Nerazzurri colorsbut at 82 ‘ Szoboszlai hits the crossbarequalizing the wood count and giving a thrill to Musso, motionless on the aerial deviation of the young Hungarian. Boga, on the other hand, asks in vain for a penalty at 83 ‘, while Halstenberg spends a yellow on Miranchuk and the baby Novoa Ramos and Mukiele take over Nkunku and Henrichs. One and a half minutes from 90 ‘, Zappacosta, unlucky protagonist of the same as Leipzig, makes room for Pezzella, while Demiral has a double chance and Musso puts a patch on Szoboszlai’s insidious right, then the Turkish is decisive on the line on Mukiele’s sure shot attempt (91 ‘). The last chances, in sequence, are from Miranchuk, Koopmeiners and Zapata: ends 1-1, everything will be decided at the Gewiss Stadium.