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AC Milan vs Atalanta: Two Italian giants meet at the Coppa Italia, which team will advance to the next round?
sokapro-AC Milan vs Atalanta: Two Italian giants meet at the Coppa Italia, which team will advance to the next round?

AC Milan host Atalanta at the San Siro for the Copa Italia quarter finals as both teams aim at advancing to the final four of the competition.

AC Milan come with fine form into this encounter but have however struggled in the Coppa Italia competition for decades, while Atalanta are seeking their first title in over six decades. A five-home winning streak saw Milan make the perfect start to the new year when they overcame Cagliari 4-1 in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia. That fine beginning to the year continued with a 3-0 victory over Empoli in the Serie A last Sunday afternoon, making Milan third in the table. While still beyond touching distance of their local rivals Inter Milan at the top of the table, Milan have now closed the gap to nine points, with half of the season already done and dusted. 

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However, despite the stature of Milan, both in Europe and domestically, they have surprisingly never been a strong outfit in the Coppa Italia competition. Their only Coppa title in almost fifty years came back in 2003, but they did come up just short in 2016 and 2018, playing runners-up to Juventus on both occasions. After seven straight home games against Atalanta without a win, AC Milan have now recorded back-to-back 2-0 victories at the San Siro over their upcoming opponents, and if they can produce a third tonight, they will seal their spot in the semi-finals. Milan were beaten in dramatic circumstances when the sides met in the Serie A last month, though, with a late 95th-minute winner giving Atalanta all three points. 

Atalanta come into this game on the back of a respectable result away to another of Italy's powerhouse, after they had a 1-1 stalemate at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma on Sunday. Atalanta missed chances in the capital leaving them sitting sixth in the Serie A table, three points shy of the top four. It was another away game without a win, too, as Gasperini's men have seen only won just one out of six games on the road domestically. After beating Sassuolo 3-1 in the last 16, that worrying away form could see them crash out at this quarter-final stage for the third successive season, after being eliminated by Fiorentina and Inter Milan respectively in the last two years. Atalanta, just like tonight's host, are victims of two Coppa Italia final defeats themselves in recent years, losing both the 2019 and the 2021 finals. 

(Image: Pine Sports)