AC Milan held on for a draw at the San Siro Saturday against a determined Atalanta side that was at times in danger of overrunning them. While it was anything but a vintage performance from the Rossoneri, there was one standout performer on the night: Milan goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma.
The 16-year-old net-minder was making his fourth appearance for Milan and finished with his second clean sheet. With Milan’s defense in disarray and the attack incapable of mustering much of anything, the 6-foot 5-inch keeper literally stood tall between the sticks.
Donnarumma came up with four huge saves on the night against a bold Atalanta side that outshot Milan almost 2-1. While many called it a gamble when Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic handed the inexperienced Donnarumma the starting berth ahead of former Real Madrid keeper, Diego Lopez, it’s looking like a gamble that’s paying off.
The Milan academy product became the youngest goalkeeper to ever start a match in Serie A when he was handed his debut in a 2-1 win against Sassuolo last month.
On Saturday, he commanded his area with an authority that belied his young age and made a number of saves, including a world-class effort that kept out a point-blank header from Luca Cigarini in the second half. Mihajlovic admitted his team was lucky to escape with a draw, and handed much of the credit to Donnarumma.
“Gigio Donnarumma had to make more saves than he has done before and proved he’s a really good goalkeeper with a bright future,” the Milan manager told the press afterward.
The draw for Milan, which extended their undefeated run to five matches, saw the 18-time Italian champions climb to sixth in the table, just three points out of the Champions League places.
Following the two-week international break, Milan will resume their Serie A campaign with a challenging trip to Turin, to face a Juventus side that looks to have left its early season struggles behind.