Atalanta given Champions League boost by flooded pitch

(Getty Images)

Atalanta were given an unexpected afternoon off ahead of their crucial Champions League clash with Ajax as Sunday's Serie A meeting with Udinese was postponed.

Gian Piero Gasperini's men made the trip to Udine for a 3pm kick-off but, following an initial delay and a second pitch inspection, the game was eventually called off.

Both captains and the match referee agreed that a flooded Stadio Friuli surface was unlikely to improve, with heavy rain still falling.

The news looked like a boost for Atalanta, meaning their players would be taking no risks before travelling to tackle Ajax on Wednesday in a game that will decide their European prospects for the remainder of the season.

The Italians must avoid defeat in Amsterdam if they are to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages but will drop into the Europa League if they are beaten.

It remains to be seen when Atalanta's match at Udinese will eventually be played, with two midweek Serie A rounds scheduled before the turn of the year.

Source Omnisport