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Crespo the hero for Milan

Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 0.40CET
AC Milan 1-0 Manchester United (agg: 2-0) Hernán Crespo strikes again to send the Italian champions through.

Match statistics

MilanMan. United

Goals scored1
 
0
Attempts on target4
 
1
Attempts off target7
 
7
Corners3
 
3
Offsides8
 
3
Fouls committed14
 
14
Yellow cards0
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 9 March 2005, 0.40CET

Crespo the hero for Milan

AC Milan 1-0 Manchester United (agg: 2-0) Hernán Crespo strikes again to send the Italian champions through.

By Graham Hunter at the San Siro

Hernán Crespo struck a second-leg goal to add to the one he scored in the first to break Manchester United FC hearts and send AC Milan into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Great header
The Argentina striker scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford a fortnight ago and repeated the feat at the San Siro tonight to give his side a 2-0 aggregate success. His goal came just after the hour, a superb looping header that Tim Howard could do nothing about.

Stam fit
Crespo was in the side as he continues to deputise for the injured Andriy Shevchenko, and played at the apex of a three-pronged attack with Rui Costa and Kaká. Carlo Ancelotti made just one change from the victory in Manchester in the first leg, with Jaap Stam returning to the centre of the Milan defence. The Dutch international's former United colleague Gary Neville was his side's only absentee.

Confident start
The English club have a disappointing record in Italy, with just a solitary win in the country, but knew that nothing other than victory would be enough after the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford in the first leg. However, the poise and confidence the visitors displayed in the first 45 minutes did not speak of a side that was uncertain about its future in the competition.

Happy memories
The last time Sir Alex Ferguson's side had played a competitive game at this stadium was against FC Internazionale Milano en route to winning the 1998/99 Champions League. In that quarter-final second leg, the English side successfully protected a 2-0 first-leg lead with a 1-1 draw.

Giggs chance
But they had a more difficult feat this evening, knowing they had to score to remain in the competition. After absorbing some early Milan pressure, Ryan Giggs almost did so on the half-hour when he latched on to Ruud van Nistelrooij's through-ball and hit a low drive past Dida that came back off the far post.

Kaká denied
On a night when short passes under pressure, clever marking and calm nerves were key features, it was typical that a player of Giggs ilk would come to the fore and moments later, Milan's own playmaker, Kaká also hit the woodwork. The Brazilian youngster seized upon a poor piece of control by Mikaël Silvestre and blasted a volley that grazed the crossbar.

Defiant defences
But they were rare shots at goal as United's central defence partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Silvestre were supplemented by Wes Brown and Roy Keane working overtime. The English side's composure was equalled by the Italian champions, however, as Milan's experienced rearguard comfortably dealt with Van Nistelrooij and Rooney.

Milan comfortable
It is a tactic that is well used in Serie A, absorbing pressure and then capitalising on the counterattack, and when Giggs was forced from the field to get treatment after receiving an accidental elbow from Gennaro Gattuso, Crespo had two quickfire opportunities. First he was denied a shooting opportunity with a superb last-gasp intervention from Ferdinand, before moments later he met an arcing cross with a firm header, but could not direct the effort on target.

Crespo goal
Giggs was hurriedly replaced by Quinton Fortune, but Milan scored almost immediately. Brazilian right-back Cafu profited from room to attack down United's left and crossed for Crespo to send a header beyond the despairing Howard.

Chance missed
United had their opportunities to equalise on the night but the prospects of them scoring twice against a resolute Milan rearguard appeared slim. Van Nistelrooij had the best of their chances, but his lack of match sharpness after nearly three months out showed when he pulled a right-footed effort wide of the upright, and United's last chance had gone.

Last updated: 09/03/05 12.37CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2004/matches/round=1969/match=1081510/postmatch/report/index.html#crespo+hero+milan

Lineups

milan

Milan

man. united

Man. United

1
DidaDida (GK)
1
HowardTim Howard (GK)
2
CafuCafu
4
HeinzeGabriel Heinze
3
MaldiniPaolo Maldini (C)
5
FerdinandRio Ferdinand
8
GattusoGennaro Gattuso
Substitution88
6
BrownWes Brown
Substitution85
10
Rui CostaRui Costa
Substitution85
7
RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
11
CrespoHernán Crespo
Goal61
Substitution78
8
RooneyWayne Rooney
13
NestaAlessandro Nesta
10
Van NistelrooyRuud van Nistelrooy
20
SeedorfClarence Seedorf
11
GiggsRyan Giggs
Substitution57
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo
16
KeaneRoy Keane (C)
22
KakáKaká
18
ScholesPaul Scholes
31
StamJaap Stam
27
SilvestreMikaël Silvestre

Substitutes

46
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK)
13
CarrollRoy Carroll (GK)
5
CostacurtaAlessandro Costacurta
Substitution88
3
P. NevillePhil Neville
9
F. InzaghiFilippo Inzaghi
12
BellionDavid Bellion
15
TomassonJon Dahl Tomasson
14
SmithAlan Smith
Substitution85
23
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini
Substitution78
17
MillerLiam Miller
24
DhorasooVikash Dhorasoo
Substitution85
22
O'SheaJohn O'Shea
27
SerginhoSerginho
25
FortuneQuinton Fortune
Substitution57
Yellow Card58

Coach

Carlo Ancelotti (ITA) Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO)

Referee

Herbert Fandel (GER)

Assistant referees

Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER), Harald Sather (GER)

Fourth official

Felix Brych (GER)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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