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Milan through despite BATE draw

FC BATE Borisov 1-1 AC Milan
Renan Bressan's penalty helped the hosts come from behind to earn a Group H draw, though the point was enough for Milan to qualify for the last 16.

Milan through despite BATE draw
Milan through despite BATE draw ©UEFA.com

FC BATE Borisov came from behind to earn a Group H draw against AC Milan, though the point was enough to take the Italian title holders through following FC Barcelona's win at FC Viktoria Plzeň.

Milan had looked in charge after taking the lead through Zlatan Ibrahimović midway through the first half, and they might have been 2-0 up when Robinho hit the woodwork. However, the hosts clawed their way back through Renan Bressan's second-half penalty and held on for their second point of the campaign.

Milan, on the back of 13 goals from their last four matches, began brightly, Alberto Aquilani establishing an early influence by switching play with crossfield passes. The Italy midfielder almost scored from a move he began on 16 minutes, when his initial header was blocked by Maksim Bordachev and his follow-up flew wide. Robinho, in for the hospital-bound Antonio Cassano, dovetailed well with Ibrahimović early on, teeing him up with a sumptuous sixth-minute back-heel for the striker to test Aleksandr Gutor from the left edge of the area.

The alert goalkeeper was also equal to the Swedish international's fierce free-kick from the same spot on 19 minutes, but he could do nothing to stop him scoring at the third time of asking. Ibrahimović started the move by dispossessing Marko Simić and, realising he was offside, cleverly allowed Robinho's return pass to run past him. The Brazilian took up the chase and picked out the striker to plunder his third goal in as many European matches.

That roused the hosts, who had already found space down the flanks, particularly on the right, where Artyom Kontsevoi threatened with a succession of crosses. It was from this route that BATE almost equalised, Maksim Skavysh forcing Christian Abbiati into tipping his header over. The Rossoneri should have been further ahead five minutes before half-time when Robinho played a one-two with Kevin-Prince Boateng and rounded Gutor, but his shot hit the post.

Milan were made to pay for their profligacy when a more animated BATE pulled level ten minutes after the restart. Dmitri Baga had already forced another save from Abbiati, when the lively Kontsevoi burst into the area and tumbled under Ignazio Abate's challenge. Bressan's spot kick was true.

The match opened up late on as Massimiliano Allegri's side sought a winner. Boateng forced another save from Gutor 13 minutes from time before Simić cleared his subsequent effort off the line, but the seven-time European champions were fortunate to survived a late scare when Skavysh fired straight at Abbiati late on.

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