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Captain Massimo Ambrosini was left frustrated as AC Milan failed to make the most of their opportunities before losing 3-2 in their UEFA Champions League first knockout round opener against Manchester United FC, but he insists that there is plenty of life in the Rossoneri yet.
Milan got off to a dream start, taking the lead in the third minute through Ronaldinho, and had several opportunities to move further ahead before Paul Scholes levelled against the run of play. Wayne Rooney then struck twice in nine second-half minutes to swing the tie firmly in favour of Sir Alex Ferguson's side, before Clarence Seedorf gave the hosts a lifeline five minutes from time.
It was a pulsating, open match but one which left Ambrosini ruing missed chances, particularly in the first half, when Ronaldinho, Luca Antonini and Klaas Jan Huntelaar all came close. "We were incredibly unlucky because in the first half we just didn't reap what we sowed," said the 32-year-old. "Manchester United made the most of two chances and then we became a bit stretched because the match changed after they went ahead. It's a great shame because there is no way this team deserved to lose tonight."
Ambrosini was one of Milan's better performers on a night in which he and Andrea Pirlo worked tirelessly in midfield to provide a platform for Ronaldinho to showcase his attacking skills, and the midfielder found Scholes's equaliser tough to take. "Their first goal dented us because we had played an excellent first half and to find ourselves level at 1-1 when we should have been two or three goals up was a psychological blow," he added, "but we can't go looking for excuses because in football you sometimes concede when you least deserve to and, after all, we were playing against Manchester United."
A veteran of 67 UEFA Champions League matches and two victories in Europe's most coveted cup competition, Ambrosini remains undeterred by the setback, which now realistically requires the seven-time European champions to overcome the Premier League side by two clear goals at Old Trafford. "It was crucial that we scored the second goal and on tonight's showing the sides are very equal," he concluded. "If there's one side that played better of the two it was clearly Milan. Anything can happen, and if we go to Old Trafford and manage to win 2-0 it would be a fine achievement. It's certainly not impossible."
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