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Marco Borriello felt his side rode their luck at times during a 1-1 draw with Olympique de Marseille but was delighted as his first UEFA Champions League goal helped AC Milan stay on course for the last 16.
Borriello stood out as he led the line for the seven-time European champions, crowning his performance with a fine tenth-minute goal that put the hosts ahead. The 27-year-old striker, signed from Treviso FC in 2002, showed great skill to cut inside Gabriel Heinze before firing past Steve Mandanda. "It's a goal I will remember for a long time," Borriello told uefa.com. "Even though I've been at the club for five or six years I've only actually played five or six Champions League matches, but I'll remember that first goal with great affection in the same way I cherish my first ever league goal."
Borriello's career has been stop-start in the seven years he has been at San Siro, but he has finally put his injury worries behind him and won the faith of Rossoneri coach Leonardo, who has regularly deployed him in his newly-adopted 4-2-1-3 formation. "I've always been convinced that I can perform at this level but I've been held back by injury problems in the past," said the striker, who top-scored in Serie A while on loan at Genoa CFC in 2007/08. "But physically and technically I know that I can play well in Europe."
It was only a shame for Borriello that he passed up two further chances to add to his tally after Lucho had levelled for the visitors. In the first instance, Souleymane Diawara denied him with a superb recovering tackle. In the second, Borriello headed Ronaldinho's cross wide. "I could have done better with a couple of chances but when you're not fully fit and feeling tired it can be difficult," he said in mitigation. "It's all good experience for me, though."
The draw leaves Milan in control of their own destiny, as the Serie A outfit remain a point a head of OM in Group C, two shy of leaders Real Madrid CF. "It was a hard-fought match and we had to hang on towards the end, when Marseille's sheer strength began to wear us down. We were more tired than them because they last played on Friday while were in action on Sunday, but on the whole a draw is a good result for us." A win for the Rossoneri at FC Zürich in a fortnight will be an even better result, as it will secure safe passage into the last 16.
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