The honours were shared at San Siro after Karim Benzema's 29th-minute strike for an enterprising Real Madrid CF was cancelled out by Ronaldinho's penalty six minutes later. Two weeks after AC Milan won 3-2 in a dramatic finale in Spain, the sides settled for a draw which kept the hosts top of Group C ahead of Los Merengues on goal difference, while Olympique de Marseille moved to within a point of both clubs after their 6-1 victory over FC Zürich.
Having succumbed to Milan's late show in the Spanish capital, Madrid began this Matchday 4 encounter as if intent on redressing the balance. Within the first 15 minutes they had rained five shots on goal, with Kaká, back in familiar surroundings, at the heart of the visitors' every move. Benzema was first to test Dida from 18 metres, after a fine run from the Milan old boy. Two minutes later Gonzalo Higuaín's shot was well covered by Dida, while Benzema, full-back Sergio Ramos and Higuaín again tried their luck from range, the defender coming closest with a diagonal shot that fizzed a whisker wide.
Milan's liveliest figure was Pato, constantly lurking on the shoulder of Álvaro Arbeloa and attempting to use his pace to the Rossoneri's benefit. He almost did so midway through the first half when Milan broke on the counterattack. Clarence Seedorf played the Brazilian in down the right; the 20-year-old skilfully cut inside Pepe but Iker Casillas saved bravely at his feet.
Pato would soon rue that miss as Benzema gave the Liga outfit the initiative with an opportunist strike. Milan lost possession in their own half and Kaká took full advantage, weaving his way past three players before unleashing a low strike which Dida could only parry. The ball ran into Benzema's path and the Frenchman made no mistake with an angled shot from close range.
It was no less than the Spanish side deserved but their lead lasted just six minutes as Milan were awarded a penalty. As Gianluca Zambrotta hared down the left and attempted a cross, Pepe slid in to make the tackle. The ball struck his arm, referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot and Ronaldinho accepted the chance, blasting into the roof of the net.
Madrid failed to reassert their earlier dominance after the break, although the contest between Pato and Arbeloa, who were both cautioned, made for an intriguing sideshow. Milan should have snatched the lead on 58 minutes when Massimo Ambrosini headed Andrea Pirlo's free-kick over from four metres out and Pirlo almost picked out Marco Borriello soon afterwards before Xabi Alonso came to the rescue. Real, meanwhile, were now shooting from distance, but neither Kaká or Marcelo's strikes seriously threatened Dida.
The match became stretched again as both sides threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, each team eager to assert a stranglehold on the group standings. Milan substitute Filippo Inzaghi miscued a glorious chance from close range on 83 minutes, while his counterpart, Raúl González, saw his 88th-minute strike spectacularly turned over by Dida to ensure the contest finished all-square.