AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti called for calm after his side had followed up their weekend win over city rivals Internazionale FC with an another impressive victory, 1-0 over Real Madrid FC to take command of UEFA Champions League Group C. "We are really satisfied because we played a great match and defeated the European champions," he said. "Tonight we passed another important test, but there is a long way to go."
Milan on a roll
Saturday's win took Milan to the top of Serie A, and that was matched by another exceptional performance against Madrid which will leave fans of the Rossoneri asking just how far Ancelotti's free-flowing side can go this season. Particularly impressive was the way in which Milan took the game to Madrid, something Ancelotti insisted was the key to success.
Attack key to defence
"You cannot play a defensive game against Real Madrid, Ancelotti said. "It's too dangerous. We attacked them and were able to maintain control for almost the entire match. Madrid, however, proved once again that they are one of the greatest teams in the world."
Shevchenko the difference
Shevchenko scored the only goal after latching on to Rui Costa's exceptional through-ball five minutes before the break. He had been preferred in attack to the Filippo Inzaghi, the Champions League's joint-leading marksman with eight goals, and after an injury-hit season, was delighted to have played such a pivotal role for his side. "
I had so many hopes for this match so I'm extremely satisfied," Shevchenko said. "I want to thank my team-mates, the coach and especially the fans. They have always supported me even during difficult periods. I was a bit angry about all the rumours about my future and I needed a goal like this."
'Beaten by a stronger side'
Madrid were hampered by injuries, but coach Vicente del Bosque refused to accept the absence of Ronaldo, Claude Makelele Fernando Hierro and Guti - the club's leading scorer in the Champions League this season - for defeat. "All the players played well," he said. "It's not relevant that we were missing some players. We were just beaten by a stronger side in a good match."
'Difficult to come back'
Madrid have now gone five matches without a win in the Champions League, their worst run in the competition, but Del Bosque refused to read too much into this result. "
We played well in the first half, but Milan scored just when we had taken control," he said. "We weren't able to react in the second half. When you go behind in front of this crowd it is very difficult to come back."
Better times ahead
Defender Roberto Carlos echoed his coach's words. "We played to win and despite losing we don't have to worry," he said. "This bad period will finish soon." Milan, meanwhile, will be looking to build on the success of the past four days. "To beat Real Madrid and Inter in the derby makes you feel stronger," captain Paolo Maldini beamed. "I'm extremely tired but very happy."
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