By Alessandra De SistiAntonio Conte’s side are in the Europa Leagues group stage for the first time since the 2013-14 season, as they face Atalantans in the second leg of their play-off tie.
With the gap between the teams being just over two goals, the second half was a battle of attrition for the visitors.
In the first leg, AC Milan came close to breaking the deadlock, but in the third minute they went up by a goal when Gianluigi Buffon headed in a cross from Antonio Di Natale.
However, the hosts took the lead soon after the restart when Roberto Baggio converted a penalty kick to give Atalanti a 1-0 lead.
Milan’s next chance came in the 78th minute when Andrea Barzagli found Adriana Giannini with a neat through ball from the left flank and the striker beat the goalkeeper before firing in a powerful volley.
It was an encouraging performance from the hosts, who have now reached the last 16 of the Europa league in two consecutive seasons.
It was a much-needed win, as AC Milan are now level on points with fourth-placed Atalantic.
However Atalantis will need to keep their shape and avoid another embarrassing defeat if they are to reach the knockout stages of the competition.
The win lifts them into third place and means that they now have one point separating themselves from fourth-place side Frosinone.
The two teams met in the group stage last season, when Atalante won 1-1.