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Milan leave it late to sink Celtic

Published: Wednesday 18 September 2013, 23.07CET
AC Milan 2-0 Celtic FC
Two goals in the final eight minutes broke the Bhoys' resistance and secured an opening Group H win for Massimiliano Allegri's men.
by Paolo Menicucci
from San Siro

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Last updated: 19/06/2014 23:27 CET

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Published: Wednesday 18 September 2013, 23.07CET

Milan leave it late to sink Celtic

AC Milan 2-0 Celtic FC
Two goals in the final eight minutes broke the Bhoys' resistance and secured an opening Group H win for Massimiliano Allegri's men.

Two late goals allowed AC Milan to overcome an unfortunate Celtic FC side in their UEFA Champions League Group H curtain-raiser, with an Emilio Izaguirre own goal and Sulley Muntari's strike settling an absorbing contest.

The hosts enjoyed a promising opening to matchday one but found Neil Lennon's men in resolute mood, before the visitors came close to taking the points themselves after the break. However, as time ticked down a shot by Cristián Zapata was deflected into his own net by Izaguirre and Muntari forced in a second to give the Rossoneri a winning start.

Mario Balotelli had the first effort of the game after five minutes for Massimiliano Allegri's team, controlling a precise lofted pass from Valter Birsa but then failing to angle his powerful volley past Fraser Forster. With Alessandro Matri playing in the centre of Milan's attack, Balotelli had the freedom to move deeper, creating problems for the Celtic defence with his clever positioning.

Making his first start since joining Milan from Juventus, Matri forced Forster into another difficult save after 21 minutes when he connected powerfully with a Cristian Zaccardo cross from the right, while Antonio Nocerino also went close as he sent a dipping shot just over the bar.

Celtic slowly dragged themselves into contention as the half progressed and threatened on the right flank where Mikael Lustig and Adam Matthews linked up fluidly. Just before the interval, however, Forster was again called into action to palm wide Balotelli's strike which deflected dangerously off Efe Ambrose.

The Scottish champions were more audacious after the restart and had the Rossoneri worried when Giorgos Samaras flashed a right-footed effort from 20 metres centimetres wide of Christian Abbiati's left post. Milan, however, had a glorious opportunity of their own on 63 minutes when Muntari headed over from close range from a perfect Kévin Constant cross to the back post.

Only a timely tackle by Nigel de Jong prevented Scott Brown from testing Abbiati while Anthony Stokes hit the bar with a wonderful free-kick with ten minutes left. Celtic appeared to be the side ending the stronger but two minutes later Izaguirre deflected a low shot by Zapata beyond Forster, before the keeper kept out Balotelli's free-kick only to see Muntari leap to meet the rebound and force it over the line.

Last updated: 14/04/14 16.35CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000479/match=2011765/postmatch/report/index.html#milan+leave+late

Lineups

milan

Milan

celtic

Celtic

32
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK) (C)
1
ForsterFraser Forster (GK)
4
MuntariSulley Muntari
Goal86
2
MatthewsAdam Matthews
Substitution75
5
MexèsPhilippe Mexès
3
IzaguirreEmilio Izaguirre
Goal82
9
MatriAlessandro Matri
Substitution87
4
AmbroseEfe Ambrose
Yellow Card66
14
BirsaValter Birsa
Substitution63
5
van DijkVirgil van Dijk
17
ZapataCristián Zapata
8
BrownScott Brown (C)
Yellow Card85
21
ConstantKévin Constant
Substitution76
9
SamarasGiorgios Samaras
23
NocerinoAntonio Nocerino
10
StokesAnthony Stokes
34
N. de JongNigel de Jong
15
CommonsKris Commons
Substitution77
45
BalotelliMario Balotelli
21
MulgrewCharlie Mulgrew
Yellow Card75
Substitution89
81
ZaccardoCristian Zaccardo
23
LustigMikael Lustig

Substitutes

1
AmeliaMarco Amelia (GK)
24
ZałuskaŁukasz Załuska (GK)
7
RobinhoRobinho
Substitution76
6
BitonNir Biton
Substitution89
16
PoliAndrea Poli
Substitution87
11
BoerrigterDerk Boerrigter
Substitution75
24
CristanteBryan Cristante
17
BaldéAmido Baldé
28
EmanuelsonUrby Emanuelson
Substitution63
18
RogicTom Rogic
31
BenedičičŽan Benedičič
20
PukkiTeemu Pukki
Substitution77
36
IottiLuca Iotti
46
McGeouchDylan McGeouch

Coach

Massimiliano Allegri (ITA) Neil Lennon (NIR)

Referee

Wolfgang Stark (GER)

Assistant referees

Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER), Mike Pickel (GER)

Fourth official

Christoph Bornhorst (GER)

Additional assistant referees

Marco Fritz (GER), Robert Hartmann (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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