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Holders Milan off to winning start

Published: Wednesday 19 September 2007, 0.55CET
AC Milan 2-1 SL Benfica
Nuno Gomes's late strike could not undo the damage done by goals from Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi.
by Richard Aikman
from San Siro

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Match statistics

MilanBenfica

Goals scored2
 
1
Attempts on target10
 
5
Attempts off target9
 
7
Corners6
 
4
Offsides4
 
3
Fouls committed20
 
22
Yellow cards1
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 19 September 2007, 0.55CET

Holders Milan off to winning start

AC Milan 2-1 SL Benfica
Nuno Gomes's late strike could not undo the damage done by goals from Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi.

AC Milan made an impressive start to their European title defence with a convincing win against SL Benfica earned by first-half goals from Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi and tempered only by Nuno Gomes's last-minute effort.

Pirlo the key
Pirlo's ninth-minute free-kick was no less than the artful playmaker deserved and he set the tone for a dominant Milan display. Pirlo then provided the assist for Inzaghi's 24th-minute strike which capped a superbly crafted team move. Nuno Gomes halved the deficit when he touched Konstantinos Katsouranis's cross over the line with the last kick of the game.

Milan rampant
The hosts had almost taken an even earlier lead when Massimo Oddo delivered a deep cross from the right which Massimo Ambrosini side-footed wide. The breakthrough was not long in coming, however. Kaká was brought down 20 metres from goal and Pirlo curled the resulting free-kick into the top left-hand corner. When Oddo got the better of Léo again, he found Inzaghi with another pinpoint delivery which the Italy striker turned wide of the far post. Benfica were struggling to come to terms with the rampaging Rossoneri and almost conceded again on the quarter-hour – Pirlo's low centre found Ambrosini who, again, was off target.

Benfica response
Inzaghi was next to threaten, eliciting a reaction save from Quim after a passing combination crowned by Clarence Seedorf's deft feint. Benfica, finally, mustered a response. As the visitors gained confidence, Milan old boy Rui Costa tested Dida with a long-range shot. Cristián Rodríguez then tricked his way down the left and supplied Óscar Cardozo with a floating delivery which the unmarked forward headed against the post from point-blank range.

Inzaghi on target
Cardozo had reason to rue his profligacy. Within two minutes Kaká had run half the length of the field before finding Pirlo unmarked on the right edge of the area. Electing to check back, the midfielder picked out Inzaghi who drove in his 60th goal in UEFA club competition. The task was now a tall one for the Lisbon outfit. And though Cardozo warmed Dida's hands, Milan should have had a third before the break: Kaká missing his kick before Inzaghi nodded Marek Jankulovski's cross over.

Relentless pressure
Ten minutes after the restart Kaká prompted another stop from Quim, having outstripped the Benfica rearguard with another trademark counterattack, before Pirlo, conducting a midfield masterclass with his display of passing, vision and close control, launched another move that ended with Inzaghi turning the ball wide. The European champions were coming forward at will, with José Antonio Camacho's side powerless in the face of such mobility. Ambrosini, Jankulovski and Inzaghi sent further efforts over the bar.

Late strike
On 75 minutes Kaká played a delightful pass through the legs of Maxi Pereira which Jankulovski raced on to, crossing for Inzaghi whose attempt was kept out by Quim. The goalkeeper's subsequent save from Emerson's lob was also adept, as was Nuno Gomes's stoppage-time goal. The substitute stretched out a leg to slide in a left-wing centre from Katsouranis and claim a 92nd-minute consolation.

Last updated: 19/09/07 10.44CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15105/match=301173/postmatch/report/index.html#holders+milan+winning+start

Lineups

milan

Milan

benfica

Benfica

1
DidaDida (GK)
12
QuimQuim (GK)
4
KaladzeKakha Kaladze
2
Luís FilipeLuís Filipe
8
GattusoGennaro Gattuso
3
EdcarlosEdcarlos
9
F. InzaghiFilippo Inzaghi
Goal24
Yellow Card67
Substitution84
5
LéoLéo
10
SeedorfClarence Seedorf
Substitution75
7
Óscar CardozoÓscar Cardozo
Yellow Card61
Substitution63
13
NestaAlessandro Nesta
8
KatsouranisKostas Katsouranis
18
JankulovskiMarek Jankulovski
10
Rui CostaRui Costa (C)
Substitution87
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo
Goal9
14
Maxi PereiraMaxi Pereira
22
KakáKaká
20
Di MaríaÁngel Di María
23
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini (C)
26
Cristian RodríguezCristian Rodríguez
44
OddoMassimo Oddo
Substitution81
28
Miguel VítorMiguel Vítor
Substitution73

Substitutes

16
KalacZeljko Kalac (GK)
24
ButtJörg Butt (GK)
5
EmersonEmerson
Substitution75
18
BinyaAugustin Binya
Substitution73
11
GilardinoAlberto Gilardino
Substitution84
19
BergessioGonzalo Bergessio
17
ŠimićDario Šimić
21
Nuno GomesNuno Gomes
Substitution63
Goal90+2
19
FavalliGiuseppe Favalli
22
NélsonNélson
25
BoneraDaniele Bonera
Substitution81
25
Nuno AssisNuno Assis
Substitution87
32
BrocchiCristian Brocchi
32
Romeu RibeiroRomeu Ribeiro

Coach

Carlo Ancelotti (ITA) José Antonio Camacho (ESP)

Referee

Michael Riley (ENG)

Assistant referees

David Bryan (ENG), Roger East (ENG)

Fourth official

Mark Clattenburg (ENG)

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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