The official website for European football

Pato blow decides heavyweight contest

Published: Thursday 22 October 2009, 0.55CET
Real Madrid CF 2-3 AC Milan
Pato struck an emphatic volley two minutes from time as Milan, for so long second best, breathed life into their stuttering campaign.
by Paul Bryan
from Santiago Bernabéu

This content is streamed in such a way that it is protected and available only in a Flash format. Your device seems not to be compatible with our Flash video player.

Published: Thursday 22 October 2009, 0.55CET

Pato blow decides heavyweight contest

Real Madrid CF 2-3 AC Milan
Pato struck an emphatic volley two minutes from time as Milan, for so long second best, breathed life into their stuttering campaign.

Real Madrid CF and AC Milan played out a UEFA Champions League classic as the Serie A side recovered from Dida's early error to breathe life into their Group C campaign with a 3-2 win.

European heavyweights
With 16 European Champion Clubs' Cups between them and a plethora of stars on display, fans flocked to the Santiago Bernabéu expecting something special – they were not disappointed. Raúl González opened the scoring midway through the opening period but two second-half goals in four minutes from Andrea Pirlo and Pato turned the game on its head. Royston Drenthe's low drive restored parity before Pato decided the contest with a dramatic volley two minutes from time.

Last-minute change
So Madrid's night ended as it had begun – on a sour note. Gonzalo Higuaín picked up an injury during the warm-up to join a daunting list of absentees. Yet Manuel Pellegrini is hardly short on talent and, with Esteban Granero handed his UEFA Champions League debut, the hosts set the early pace. Granero and Karim Benzema bristled with intent and the pair were in the thick of things as Madrid broke the deadlock on 19 minutes. Benzema drew defenders on the edge of the Milan area before teeing up Granero for a speculative effort. It was straight at Dida yet the Brazilian, playing in place of the injured Christian Abbiati, let the ball slip on to his knee and into the path of the prowling Raúl who clipped in his 66th UEFA Champions League goal.

Madrid pressure
The Rossoneri were stunned, and as they allowed their opponents more possession they might have been punished further had Lassana Diarra applied more finesse to his chip. The French international sent another attempt just wide from distance and Marcelo also warmed Dida's hands. Milan threatened only once in the first half, Clarence Seedorf's cross needing a timely Raúl Albiol interception to deny the lurking Filippo Inzaghi with the scores at 0-0, and the second period started in a similar fashion. Raúl flashed a left-footed drive wide before Kaká measured a teasing pass across goal to no avail.

Casillas culpable
Dida was getting plenty of opportunity to atone for his error, denying Benzema and then, following a defensive lapse, Raúl. It all looked so comfortable for Madrid but, in the space of four minutes, they were behind. Receiving possession 30 metres from goal, Pirlo unleashed a blistering strike that crept inside Iker Casillas's near post. The goalkeeper could do nothing about that, yet was culpable when he opted to come out to meet Massimo Ambrosini's lofted pass soon after but misjudged the bounce, leaving Pato to slide the ball into an unguarded net and give Leonardo's side the lead.

Sting
It was merely the beginning of the drama. With 14 minutes left, Drenthe met Raúl's corner with a crisp low shot that levelled matters, yet these sides had played enough European Cup football – 526 matches between them – to suspect another sting in the tail. It duly came: Pato latching on to Seedorf's flighted pass with an emphatic volley to finally settle a thrilling contest.

Last updated: 27/11/12 15.32CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=0/matches/round=2000028/match=2000400/postmatch/report/index.html#pato+blow+decides+heavyweight+contest

UEFA.com features

Ireland's semi-final adventure: behind the scenes
  • Ireland's semi-final adventure: behind the scenes
  • Israel travails no problem for Peretz
  • Brahimi following in Madjer's Porto footsteps
  • Trenčín winger Simon commanding attention
  • Sheridan taking the heat at APOEL
  • McGregor making his mark back at Celtic
  • Heat of the moment: Commentators' finest hours
  • Pick of the matchday two photos
  • Spain game evokes happy memories for Sweden
  • Košice and Liberec: Tale of the dugouts
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.