champions-league03 November 2021


AC Milan’s Champions League hopes left hanging by a thread following a 1-1 draw with Porto

AC Milan and Porto shared the spoils on matchday four in the Champions League, although, given the standings, the Portuguese side will be happier than the Rossoneri. The 1-1 draw at San Siro is a result that leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouth for Coach Pioli's men, who picked up their first point of the season in Europe but whose hopes of progressing to the last 16 are now hanging by a thread. It was a tough and hard-fought match, with Mbemba’s own goal in the second half cancelling out Luis Díaz’s finish in the opening stages. The Diavolo fought hard and gave everything for the cause, but their sacrificial spirit wasn’t quite enough to get the better of a Porto team that had the upper hand for long spells. Nevertheless, Coach Pioli’s men managed to dig in, react and tried all that they could to come away with a victory.

It was a night that the Rossoneri can learn from, with many positive aspects to keep in mind. In such a prestigious competition and against such a strong opponent, the Diavolo will have undoubtedly gained a deeper insight into what it means to play on this stage, what is required and what is missing to enjoy success. AC Milan now sit on one point in Group B, three behind Atlético Madrid (who have played a game less) and four adrift of Porto. A miracle is needed, but, in the meantime, the Rossoneri’s attentions will turn to the Derby showdown coming up at 20:45 CET on Sunday 7 November. It’ll be a very important match and one which the team will need to be fully prepared for. Keep going with your heads held high, lads.


The opening minutes were not pretty. After Evanilson’s shot was narrowly off target, Porto then broke the deadlock in the sixth minute, when Bennacer, under heavy pressure, gave away possession deep in his own half and Grujíc set up Luis Díaz, who slotted it into the bottom corner with a well-placed right-footed shot. The Dragões were confident, clearly on top and creating more chances: in the tenth minute, Luis Díaz put it on a plate for Otávio, only for him to hit it over the bar; then, in the 16th minute, Grujić's header from a free kick was brilliantly saved by Tătărușanu. With 25 minutes on the clock, Ciprian was again called upon to save another Grujić header. It was in the 33rd minute that AC Milan mustered up a reply, with Giroud's left-footed shot from distance being kept out by Diogo Costa. Saelemaekers also had a chance in added time when he fired wildly off target following Leão's cross. Half-time.

The game resumed with Kalulu having replaced Calabria, who had picked up a knock. After Leão was flagged for offside when face to face with the keeper, the visitors went close to doubling their lead in the 55th minute: Pepe's unexpected through ball was headed against the bar by Evanilson. After this scare, the Rossoneri equalised in the 61st minute: Bennacer's free kick was blocked, Giroud's effort was saved by Diogo Costa and then Kalulu's shot found the back of the net via Mbemba's foot. The changes were then rung as both sides brought on fresh legs. There was a chance for Porto in the 71st minute when a ricochet fell to Taremi, but he failed to hit the target from the middle of the area. In the 83rd minute, Ibrahimović seemed to have scored the winning goal, but Hernández, who had delivered the cross, was flagged for offside in the build-up. There was no late drama in the final minutes. Full-time.



AC MILAN (4-2-3-1): Tătărușanu; Calabria (46' Kalulu), Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernández; Tonali (68' Kessie), Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Díaz (68' Krunić), Leão (85' 'st Maldini); Giroud (76' Ibrahimović). Subs: Jungdal, Mirante; Gabbia, Kjær; Bakayoko. Coach: Pioli.

PORTO (4-4-2): D. Costa; João Mário, Mbemba, Pepe, Zaidu; Grujić, S. Oliveira (69' Vitinha), Otávio (86' Martínez), L. Díaz (79' B. Costa); Taremi (86' Pepê), Evanilson (74' F. Conceição). Subs: Marchesín, Ramos; Cardoso, Manafá, Nanu; Vieira; Corona. Coach: S. Conceição.

Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA).
Goals: 6' L. Díaz (P), 61' o. g. Mbemba (M).
Booked: 27' Pioli (in the dugout), 49' Grujić (P), 55' Tomori (M), 64' Mbemba (P), 73' Zaidu (P), 92' F. Conceição (P).

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