A rainy afternoon at the Vismara stadium concluded with AC Milan Primavera's third defeat of the season in the UEFA Youth League: a second-half penalty scored by Diogo Abreu sealed a 1-0 victory for Porto. The penalty call was an incident that sparked protests from the Rossoneri players and was one that punished Giunti's team unfairly, since they had put in a good performance and were caught out by one of their opponent’s few chances.
The defeat leaves AC Milan with a single point in the standings in Group B, ending the hopes of qualification to the knockouts and rendering the final two matchdays against Atlético and Liverpool simply as opportunities to show the team’s growth and improvement. First, however, there will be a chance for redemption in the league: on Sunday, the Rossoneri will travel to the newly promoted Hellas Verona on matchday eight in the Primavera 1 Division.
CHECK OUT THE GALLERY FROM AC MILAN v PORTO
Making his debut for the Rossoneri was the 16-year-old Victor Eletu. In the middle of the park alongside Gala and Robotti, he was called up just before kick-off in place of the injured Bright. AC Milan got off to a promising start, with Rossi coming close in the fourth minute, and then closer still when, in the 18th minute, Capone shot just wide after a run into the box. Desplanches was quick to react in the 26th minute, when Folha had a go from outside the box in a first half that didn't see any other big chances. This was in part thanks to the rain-sodden ground; however, the Rossoneri were still dynamic, with the young Eletu showing encouraging signs.
It was at the start of the second half that AC Milan's best chance came: in the 51st minute, Traorè had a great opportunity to score, forcing Cardoso to make an impressive save. On the hour mark, Nsiala headed the ball over the bar from a corner. In the 67th minute, the Rossoneri were again on the front foot with Rossi's misguided effort from close range and again in the 69th minute, when Traorè's shot hit the crossbar. In the 70th minute, there was questionable contact on Capone inside the box which went unanswered, and then, at the other end of the pitch, Porto were awarded a penalty for a foul by Coubis: Abreu converted the spot kick to make it 1-0. The last Rossoneri attack came in the dying minutes, when Roback's 88th-minute effort was blocked by Cardoso, with the final whistle being blown shortly after.
"On Sunday, the loss hinged on one pivotal moment and today the same thing has happened here: it is a shame, because I think we played a very well today on a tough surface which was difficult to navigate." These were the words after the match of Coach Federico Giunti. "We had two great chances, but at the moment this is how it seems to be going for us. Today, they all gave their best, a positive result would have been important for their confidence. I have enjoyed the general attitude since the Lecce game, but we have some important absentees. I want to congratulate Victor (Eletu), who is the first player born in 2005 to make his debut for us this year. Moving on from this, all we can do is to keep up the hard work and that’s exactly what the boys have been doing."
AC MILAN 0-1 PORTO
AC MILAN (4-3-3): Desplanches; Coubis, Bosisio (58' Bozzolan), Nsiala, Kerkez (87' Incorvaia); Robotti, Eletu, Gala; Capone (75' Nasti), Rossi (75' Roback), Traorè (87' El Hilali). Subs.: Pseftis; Foglio. Coach: Giunti.
PORTO (4-3-3): Cardoso; Macedo (77' Fernandes), Vinhas, Brás, Pinheiro; Abreu, Folha (87' Ribeiro), Sousa (77' Tiago Antunes); Monteiro (77' Baker-Boaitey), Meireles, Candé. Subs.: Lima; Assunção, Dabo. Coach: Ferreirinha.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann (Malta).
Goals: 72' pen. Abreu (P).
Booked: 16' Candé (P), 31' Capone (M), 56' Eletu (M), 71' Coubis (M), 80' Folha (P), 89' Abreu (P).
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