Milan 0 – 1 Spurs

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THE ROSSONERI now face an almost impossible task in the return leg of the Champions League clash with spurs, after losing 1-0 at home to Tottenham. Spurs were the better side in the first half, as Harry Redknapp’s tactics were flawless, however the scores remained level. Milan had the better of the second half for the most part, but Tottenham delivered a crushing blow with around 10 minutes to go, scoring a breakaway goal to turn the game on its head. With one of the last kicks of the game, Ibrahimovic scored with a sensational overhead kick, but it was ruled out for a foul in the box.

Milan’s injury laden squad was boosted by the return of Ignazio Abate to face Spurs, meaning a back 4 of Abate, Nesta, Yepes and Antonini in front of Abbiati in goal, with Thiago Silva pushed forward in to the midfield 3 – alongside Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini. In attack, Clarence Seedorf and Robinho were joined by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Spurs made a very good start to the game, and Milan were called in to action within minutes. Spurs fans claimed a penalty as the ball was flashed quickly across the box – only for the ball to strike Nesta’s upper arm, but no penalty was given, and given the position the ball struck, it would have been a harsh penalty anyway. In truth, Spurs were the better side for the first ten minutes, and were it not for Abbiati’s excellent reading of the game to punch clear a diagonal cross, Crouch may well have scored.

AC Milan-Tottenham: The Rossoneri squad
Final training session before Spurs (Photos)

With just over quarter of an hour gone, Spurs’ system was working well, because they were exploiting Milan’s lack of width, and pressing all over – meaning Milan were struggling to create, and Spurs were still causing problems. Christian Abbiati was then forced off with concussion, which was a big blow after the Italian had made an excellent start to the game.

Approaching the half an hour mark, and finally Milan were beginning to settle – but still the Rossoneri had not managed to craft a real clear cut chance. Spurs on the other hand were losing influence, and had seemingly changed game plans since they’d only put 1 ball in to the box since Marco Amelia was brought on to replace Abbiati, which was not working very well for them as Milan were gaining more influence as the match progressed.

It was Spurs who were next to test the goalkeeper – this time Rafael Van der Vaart. Picking the ball up outside the box, the dutchman was able to take it on and shoot – but substitute goalkeeper Marco Amelia was more than up to the task, and was able to punch it wide for a corner (from which, nothing came) Spurs were allowed plenty of time on the ball by Milan, whilst the Rossoneri were given little to no time at all in possession, Tottenham were pressing well and Harry Redknapp had set his side up very well tactically, which was working brilliantly against Milan’s fairly narrow formation.

As the half drew to a close, Milan did finally create some half chances, firstly, Clarence Seedorf layed the ball off wide to Ignazio Abate, who took the ball forward before putting in an excellent cross – but Spurs managed to defend it well. Secondly, after some nice play from Clarence Seedorf, Robinho had the ball at the edge of the Spurs box, and played a brilliant ball straight across the face of goal – any touch would almost certainly have sent it in, but nothing came of it – and Spurs were noticably the better side at the end of the first half.

At half time, Massimiliano Allegri brought Alexandre Pato on for Clarence Seedorf – and Milan started the second half much better than they played for most of the first. Just moments in to the second half and the Rossoneri came close to taking the lead, a ball chipped in to the box by Gattuso was met by the head of the oncoming Mario Yepes, and forced a wondersave from Heurelho Gomes! It was also clear that the front 3 had all upped their work rate in the second half – and the difference was staggering.

With around 55 minutes on the clock, the Milan crowd was excited, but Mathieu Flamini was fortunate not to be sent off after a terrible two footed challenge on Vedran Corluka. Once again Milan were inched away from scoring – this time from a corner, as Mario yepes was again given a free run behind Peter Crouch, but the Colombian’s good header was met by an equally good save from Gomes, before William Gallas acrobatically managed to clear the ball away to safely.

Finally Milan were playing as the better side. It seemed Allegri’s decision to bring on Pato had really got the crowd going, and with the new found work rate of the attacking players, Milan were beginning to take control, and at last it looked as though it was Spurs were on the back foot trying to keep out Milan.

Milan were all over Spurs, but disaster struck around the 80th minute mark – as Milan conceded possession high up the field, Aaron Lennon had the ball with time and space to run at Milan. The Rossoneri had just two back, and as Peter Crouch hung back, Lennon took on (and beat) Mario Yepes before playing a simple square ball for the open Peter Crouch to tap in to an empty net against the run of play. A disastrous blow for Milan.

The goal had seemingly sucked the life out of Milan, and Spurs were the better side once more. In the dying seconds Robinho managed to secure a corner for Milan, and after some work outside the box, Nesta chipped it in to the box, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored with an overhead kick! However The Rossoneri hearts were shattered – as the goal was disallowed for a foul in the box before the Swede’s excellent overhead kick. And that was the end of the game.

Best Moment: The nanoseconds after Ibrahimovic’s excellent overhead kick, which was then ruled out.

Man of the Match: hard to pick one for Milan tbh, maybe Thiago Silva

By Hefin Davies, Rossoneri Blog

Follow hdcantona on Twitter

108 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, one more post and this news will reach 100 post!

    btw, we still can beat them 2-1 in white hart and we through to quarter finals. but from what i seen in this blog, a lot of milan fans already gave up their support and stop believe that nothing is impossible in football…

  2. It’s pretty ironic when you see a guy at school wear an arsenal shirt every mufti day and then yesterday saying he’s been in love with tottenham all his life (non sarcastic)? can someone explain?

  3. @ MICHAEL

    Thats the difference between EPL & SERIE A. Arsenal are Tottenhams worst enemy, but still when Milan played Spurs , we could hear fans of all EPL clubs buzzing about an English win, here fans are divided and ignorant. Milanistas are happy if Inter lost to any other club in Europe. Inter fans die to make fun of Milan as old & slow , Juve are known as cheats. You dont find these kind of rivalries in EPL, even in LA LIGA for that matter only REAL & BARCA do have a sporting rivalry and the fans abuse each other but its for the good of the game, BUNDESLIGA fans dont bother worry about other leagues they run the show they want. Serie A is deeply divided with bitterness & hate.

  4. reaaly getting tired of the comments from u guys saying milan is horrible and done for at least 5 years crap.no matter what anyone says we have one the best attacks in the world.PERIOD.the same for our center backs.and promising young players like merkel boateng and abate.and one truly world class mid pirlo.the rest will be sorted out

  5. @ milan,

    do you even watch Milan play? I am asking because to me it looks like you don’t. Yeah we have the best attack in the world and how many goals this attack score againt Tottenham? Great attack is nothing if your midfield doesn’t exist. Same for our center backs? Are you for real? We have only Silva who is the future. Nesta is old and will be gone soon. Same goes for Pirlo. Merkel and Abate are young but are not Milan material, PERIOD.

  6. One more thing for all those defending Allegri – yes it is true that Galliani is the one bringing players in – and he brough in players that are not eligible for CL. But it is Allegri who always said they are fine as is and don’t need reinforcements – he is a stupid coach who is not Champions League material.

  7. is pato or robinho not the future.boateng has been good as wwell.pirlo is not old he ius 31 and since he has never been the type of player to run his ass off like gattuso his age only affects inuries nothing else.would you pass up xavi becasue he is 30?i doubt it.if germany is watching merkel and thery have the best youth team other then spain i would hope he is pretty talented.abate?i guess covering ronaldo is not enoguh for you either.and of course pour attack cant do anything they have no support from the midifeld without our injured players.its like 3 agaisnt 5 or 6

  8. From coaching a team in the rolling meadows of Sardenia, to being placed in the San Siro with nearly 80,000 screaming lunatics in an important Champions League fixture. Max was more out of place than a giraffe in Nepal. Let’s look at his errors:

    Error #1: An unbelievably defensive setup with a grand total of: 3 central defenders, 1 full back, 1 lucky Milan contest winner who got a chance to play in a CL game of his choice: Antonini, and two defensive midfielders with the technical ability of a cactus. Oh, and all of our offense was supposed to come from the decomposing corpse of Clarence Seedorf who looked slower than usual, which I thought couldn’t be possible. It is possible. Then Ibrahimovic and Robinho were placed awkwardly on the front line, receiving a myriad of inaccurate lobs courtesy of Apocalypto Yepes, who had a certain eau-de-Oddo against Tottenham. Speaking of Yepes, he could have scored a brace from corners. Why didn’t Allegri take a page out of Barcelona’s book and put Yepes as a target man, just like they do with Pique? He could have easily shifted Thiago Silva alongside Nesta, which probably would’ve negated the goal on Lennon’s counter attack.

    Here’s what really bothered me about Allegri’s decision. Why on earth do you put the painstakingly slow Yepes next to Nesta when Tottenham’s game plan revolved around breakneck speed on counterattacks? Thiago Silva has plenty of pace, and I don’t think Lennon would’ve gone by him on the goal scoring action. Just my humble opinion.

    The formation I would have fielded: Abate, Nesta, Silva, Antonini.. Flamini, Merkel, Gattuso.. Robinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic. “But MilanGuy, Merkel is too young!” Really? Arsenal just won against Barcelona with two under 20 players. It’s obvious all of our chips are in the Serie A. We can’t even play any of our January signings in the Champions League. So if Cassano can’t play, anyone in their right mind would assume that Pato would get the nod. Well, everyone in their right mind EXCEPT for Allegri.

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