Ibrahimovic waiting for 'God' celebration as Atalanta stall leaders Inter
MILAN, JAN 12: Veteran Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his first AC Milan start since his return to the club in a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday but city rivals Inter's position on top of Serie A is at risk after a 1-1 draw against Atalanta.
Lautaro Martinez put Inter ahead after four minutes in the San Siro only for Robin Gosens to pull Atalanta level on 76 minutes.
Inter are just one-point clear of champions Juventus who play Roma in the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
Lazio consolidated third position, four points behind Inter, with the league's top scorer Ciro Immobile grabbing the only goal against Napoli to stretch his side's winning streak to ten games.
Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata got his first start after a long injury layoff but Inter were struggling without suspended Nicolo Barella and injured duo Matias Vecino and Alexis Sanchez.
"We gave everything in a difficult situation," said Inter coach Antonio Conte. "We were down to the bare bones, without four big players.
"Looking at our position in the table, seeing us up there, we might turn a blind eye to some issues.
"But I hope we don't have any more missing players or the situation becomes problematic."
Good work by in-form Inter strike duo Martinez and Romelu Lukaku paved the way for the first goal minutes into the game.
But Gosens volleyed in with quarter of an hour to go and Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic saved a Luis Muriel penalty two minutes from time to hold onto a point.
Atalanta are fifth, equal on points with Roma, who occupy the final Champions League berth.
In Sardinia, Ibrahimovic was named in the starting 11 for Milan against Cagliari, having come on as a substitute in their goalless draw against Sampdoria last weekend.
The 38-year-old played the entire match scoring after 64 minutes for his first Milan goal since leaving the club for Paris Saint-Germain eight years ago.
"I'll celebrate like a God at San Siro, not here," said Ibrahimovic, who last scored in the Milan jersey in May 2012. "I celebrate God every time I score, that way I feel alive!"
Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, 20, had struck the opener just after the break as Milan got their first win since a 3-2 victory over Bologna on December 8.
Since then Stefano Pioli's side have settled for two goalless draws and suffered a humiliating 5-0 defeat by Atalanta. Milan move up to eighth in the table, 10 points off the Champions League berths. -AFP