Atalanta have been dealt an injury blow ahead of the midweek Champions League tie with Manchester United.
Defender and club captain Rafael Toloi was substituted 39 minutes into Atalanta’s weekend win over Empoli.
Now Italian news agency ANSA reports Toloi has been ruled out of Atalanta’s trip to Old Trafford with an abductor injury.
Toloi had just returned from an injury which kept him out of the Italian squad during the international break.
The Brazil-born centre-back has eight caps for Italy and had started six Serie A games for Atalanta this season.
Toloi also started both of Atalanta’s previous two Champions League games in 2021/22 and his absence is a major blow for the visitors.
Atalanta have had to reshape their defence this season after last season’s star loanee Cristian Romero joined Tottenham in the summer.
The Italian side are expected to line up at Old Trafford in their usual 3-4-1-2 formation.
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Likely starters are Merih Demiral, Jose Palomino, and Remo Freuler, who came off the bench to replace Toloi at the weekend.
This weakened defence gives United added incentive to attack, especially considering the Red Devils’ own defensive problems at present.
Third Atalanta player ruled out
Toloi is the third Atalanta player to be ruled out of the clash with injury. It is unclear if he will be fit for the second game between the two teams in Italy.
Two players who are out for both are winger Robin Gosens and attacking midfielder Matteo Pessina.
Pessina scored Atalanta’s winner over Young Boys in the previous Champions League game. He got injured against AC Milan shortly before the international break, newspaper L’Eco Di Bergamo reported.
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