Tottenham 0-0 Milan (agg: 0-1): Rossoneri hold firm to clinch last-eight return
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Milan reached a first UEFA Champions League quarter-final for 11 years after a goalless draw away to Tottenham in the second leg of their round of 16 tie.
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Milan ended their long wait for a place in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League after a 0-0 draw with Tottenham confirmed a 1-0 aggregate success.
51': Forster denies Brahim Díaz
64': Højbjerg forces Maignan save
78': Romero sent off for second booking
90+4': Maignan stops Kane header
90+4': Origi hits post after Milan break
Match in brief: Resolute Milan finish the job
The Rossoneri looked the more likely side to extend their aggregate advantage in a cagey opening half, Junior Messias spurning two opportunities.
The 31-year-old dragged his low effort across the face of goal after a well-worked free-kick routine, before blasting a left-footed strike high into the crowd after cutting in from the left following good work by Rafael Leão.
The hosts managed to get themselves into promising positions in the first 45 minutes, but were ultimately unable to pick out their attackers in the opposition box.
Milan began brightest after the restart too and almost doubled their lead across the tie when first-leg match-winner Brahim Díaz burst into the box but Fraser Forster was alert to the shot at his near post.
It took until after the hour for Antonio Conte's men to force Mike Maignan into meaningful action, the French international acrobatically tipping over Pierre-Emile Højbjerg's fierce shot.
The match gradually opened up and former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud hooked straight at Forster from close range, while home captain Harry Kane was unable to steer a stooping header on target just moments later.
Tottenham looked to step up a gear in the closing stages, but their task was made tougher when Cristian Romero was dismissed with just under 15 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence.
There was a flurry of activity in added time as both sides pressed for a late winner, Kane's powerful header pushed away by Maignan. Milan broke immediately and substitute Divock Origi clipped the inside of the upright from the edge of the box, though it mattered not in the end.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Fikayo Tomori (Milan)
"It was a solid performance in a defensively strong Milan side. They gave up very few clear-cut chances, with Tomori the most outstanding factor in that back line. It was an impressive showing from a player in his home country, who also pressed forward aggressively when needed."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Paolo Menicucci, Tottenham reporter
After the narrow defeat in the first leg, Antonio Conte opted for a patient approach in the first half when Spurs lacked creativity and pace to really trouble the Milan defence. The home side played with more courage in the second half but testing Maignan remained an elusive mission for Spurs even with four attackers on the pitch. After Romero’s red card, a difficult task quickly became an impossible one.
Vieri Capretta, Milan reporter
Exactly the performance Milan needed after the first leg. The Rossoneri were in control, defended and pressed well, were confident in possession and created plenty of chances. They should have scored, but in the end it wasn't necessary and they deservedly return to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after a wait of over a decade.
Stefano Pioli, Milan coach, speaking to Prime Video: "We knew it would be tough, but we managed. I asked the players to show character. We never gave up, and we deserved to progress. We need to think step by step. We made it to the quarters, now let's see what happens in the draw."
Olivier Giroud, Milan forward, speaking to Prime Video: "We made it to the last 16 and [now] we deserved this result, even though we could have scored more. We showed quality, spirit, and we could have won tonight as well. It's a great result. I told the players that we deserved to be in the Champions League and we wanted to do well in it."
Antonio Conte, Tottenham coach: "I don't think we played with too much patience in the first half. Our objective was to attack them from the start, to press them high. Milan, however, did well against our pressing. I cannot say much to my lads because in terms of commitment they gave everything they had."
Clarence Seedorf, Prime Video
"Milan took very few risks, were in control and could have scored. So very well done overall, congratulations to the Rossoneri."
- Tottenham were involved in a home goalless draw for the first time since being held by Swansea City in September 2017.
- Spurs have failed to score in their last three outings across all competitions.
- Milan have kept four successive clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2006.
Fantasy star performers
Fikayo Tomori – 10
Emerson – 7
Theo Hernández – 7
Tottenham: Forster; Romero, Lenglet, Davies; Emerson (Richarlison 70), Skipp, Højbjerg, Perišić (Porro 53); Kulusevski (Sánchez 83), Kane, Son
Milan: Maignan; Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori; Junior Messias (Saelemaekers 56), Tonali, Krunić, Hernández; Brahim Díaz (Bennacer 81), Giroud (Origi 81), Rafael Leão (Rebić 89)