19 September 2023


The Rossoneri do everything but score against Newcastle at San Siro

We deserved more. This season's Champions League opener goes down with a goalless draw at home to Newcastle. The win went begging, though, as the Rossoneri created chances and got shots off but failed to ripple the back of the net, largely due to the efforts of Nick Pope. 25 attempts, nine on target, but just the final touch was lacking that would have seen the Rossoneri victorious. The team and fans alike wanted a big reaction following Saturday's disappointment and the boys played with pride and team spirit. This was recognised by the San Siro faithful, who were in full voice until the very end. Only a goal was missing, which is no small thing, but the quality of the performance was there.

The result, however, isn't the only bitter note of the first European note of the season, with the conditions of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mike Maignan sure to be a worry ahead of our upcoming games. However, their replacements Marco Sportiello, who made a brilliant save in stoppage time, and Yunus Musah deputised well; the latter helped drive the team's attacks. The Rossoneri will need to be more clinical on Saturday afternoon when they host Hellas Verona; Serie A is hotting up and we can't stop now.


Two changes to the starting line-up were made from the derby by Pioli: Pobega and Chukwueze coming in for Reijnders and Pulisic. The first half was cursed for the Rossoneri, who created dozens of chances but failed to find the back of the net. It all started on 13': Pobega’s left-footed hit from the edge of the box stung Pope’s fingers, who saved again soon after from Chukwueze’s close-range header. From the following corner, Loftus-Cheek flicked on for Leão, who just couldn’t arrive in time. It was us again after 18' with Krunić picking up the ball 30 yards out and unleashing a right-footed thunderbolt, but Pope was forced again into putting it behind for a corner. The chances continued to arrive and from another corner Theo rose highest, but failed to connect well enough and the visiting keeper was able to push it away. It was one-way traffic and after 20 minutes, Loftus-Cheek found space between the lines, before shooting over from 18 yards out. On the half-hour mark, Theo, in transition, got to the byline, crossed in for Giroud at the near post, but he couldn’t wrap his foot around it enough and his shot flashed wide. On 34 minutes, an incredible triple chance came with Rafa driving into the box, but at the moment of shooting he tripped up; the ball fell to Pobega but Newcastle were able to block his effort off the line; the move ended with Ruben’s right-footed attempt from close range being deflected behind for a corner.

Florenzi replaced Calabria, who had been booked, at half-time. And it was the number 42 whose left-footed effort after 52' missed the target, after being found centrally by Krunić. Soon after coming on as a sub, Reijnders did brilliantly to find some space on the edge of the box, but his right-footed shot was just off target. We continued to push forward and in the 73rd minute another huge chance was spurned, this time Leão heading over following an inch-perfect cross in from the right by Florenzi. The Rossoneri’s domination didn’t let up: Almirón just beat Theo to the ball, before the Frenchman, and then Pulisic, had efforts blocked by the Magpies’ defence. We continued to look for the feet of Florenzi, who found Theo at the back post, but his wild flash on the volley went well over. The luck just wasn’t in the Rossoneri’s favour, not even on 87 minutes when Giroud broke away, but on reaching the opposition box his shot was too central. In the closing stages, for the first time in the whole match, Newcastle had their first chance through Longstaff, but his shot from the edge of the box was excellently turned over by Sportiello. It ended 0-0 at San Siro.



AC MILAN (4-3-3): Maignan (80' Sportiello); Calabria (46' Florenzi), Thiaw, Tomori, Hernández; Loftus-Cheek (72' Musah), Krunić, Pobega (61' Reijnders); Chukwueze (61' Pulisic), Giroud, Leão. Subs.: Mirante; Bartesaghi, Kjær; Adli; Jović, Okafor. Coach: Pioli. 

NEWCASTLE (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schär (90' Barnes), Botman, Burn; Longstaff, Guimarães, Tonali (72' Anderson); Murphy (63' Almirón), Isak, Gordon (63' Wilson). Subs.: Harris, Karius; Dummett, Lascelles, Livramento, Targett; Hall, Miley. Coach: Howe.

Referee: José María Sánchez (ESP).
Booked: 40' Calabria (M), 49' Schär (N), 82' Musah (M), 83' Giroud (M), 89' Krunić (M).

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