Milan 1-0 Tottenham: Brahim Díaz heads hosts to victory
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Brahim Díaz's early header gave the Italian champions the spoils in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against Tottenham.
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Brahim Díaz's early goal gave Milan a narrow first-leg lead in a captivating first-leg contest against Tottenham.
6': Díaz heads Milan in front after brilliant Forster stop
63': Dier shown yellow card, ruling him out of second leg
78': De Ketelaere heads wide from close range
79': Thiaw also misses great headed chance
Match in brief: Díaz decisive for Rossoneri
The home side began brightly and were quickly rewarded, Díaz forcing in a close-range header after Fraser Forster – who was equal to Theo Hernández's well-struck shot from the left in the opening minutes – had brilliantly kept out the Spaniard's initial effort.
Depleted Spurs had the better of the rest of the first half, but neither goalkeeper was really tested at San Siro.
It was much of the same in the second period, but Milan spurned two golden headed chances late on as first Charles De Ketelaere and then Malick Thiaw headed wide.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Rafael Leão (Milan)
"He is always dangerous when he picks up the ball and runs at the opposition."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Vieri Capretta, match reporter
A very even game, with Milan making the most of an early opener and then battling it out with Spurs throughout. With a bit of luck the Italian champions could have scored a second, while the visitors lacked bite up front, often unable to create real chances. Stefano Pioli's tactical masterplan was perfectly executed, and the Rossoneri go into the return leg with an advantage.
Rafael Leão, Player of the Match, speaking to UEFA.com: "I knew I had to attack the spaces; we worked on it during the week. It's a Champions League game and I wanted to enjoy myself."
Stefano Pioli, Milan coach: "I am definitely happy with the performance but it's only the first leg and the next game will be surely more difficult."
Antonio Conte, Tottenham coach, speaking to UEFA.com: "I expect another tough match in the return leg. We should have done better for their goal, then it was a battle in front of a difficult atmosphere. Let's not forget, Milan won the league last year – we didn't."
Peter Crouch, BT Sport
"Spurs are still in it. The fans will be frustrated, it was a terrible start, but there are positives for Spurs and getting it back to London, you'd still fancy Tottenham."
- Tottenham have conceded the first goal in nine of their last 11 UEFA Champions League matches.
- Díaz's goal was Milan's fastest in a UEFA Champions League knockout game since Ronaldinho's third-minute strike against Manchester United in February 2010.
- Milan ended a six-game losing streak against English opposition in the UEFA Champions League.
- Díaz's goal was Milan's 250th in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.
- Tottenham have lost six of their last seven UEFA Champions League knockout matches (W1).
Fantasy star performers
Brahim Díaz – 8 points
Simon Kjær – 8 points
Malick Thiaw – 8 points
AC Milan: Tătăruşanu, Kalulu, Kjær, Thiaw; Saelemaekers (Junior Messias 77), Krunić, Tonali (Pobega 86), Hernández; Díaz (De Ketelaere 77), Giroud, Rafael Leão (Rebić 90)
Tottenham: Forster; Lenglet (Davies 81), Dier, Romero; Emerson, Skipp, Sarr, Perišić; Kulusevski (Richarlison 70), Kane, Son (Danjuma 81)
The second leg takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London on 8 March (21:00 CET).