UCL Round of 16: Early Diaz dagger hands AC Milan first-leg advantage over Spurs
Out of sorts AC Milan secure vital win at home
An early goal from AC Milan midfielder Brahim Diaz was enough to hand the Serie A champions a 1-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at San Siro. The Rossoneri showed great quality against a depleted Tottenham side to secure a first-leg advantage in their Round of 16 clash.
Both sides last faced at this same stage of the competition in the 2010/11 season, with Tottenham claiming a 1-0 aggregate victory over AC Milan. Spurs were, however, severely weakened coming into the clash with injuries to Hugo Lloris, Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma forcing Antonio Conte to hand starts to Senegal midfielder Pape Matar Sarr, Oliver Skipp and goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
AC Milan were looking to build on their 1-0 win over Torino at the weekend and quickly went in front at home after only seven minutes. Theo Hernandez stung the palms of Forster, who reacted quickly to parry a second effort from Diaz before the former Manchester City and Real Madrid man headed home the rebound at the second time of asking.
The match descended into a scrappy affair as both sides looked for a measure of control in the first half. Tottenham saw their best chance fall to Harry Kane in the box, but the club’s record-goalscorer saw his effort ricochet off the upright after the intervention of a defender, although it wouldn’t have counted as Heung-Min Son had been offside earlier in the move.
Neither side managed to really cause trouble for the rest of the match, with both Charles De Ketelaere and Junior Messias guilty of spurning good chances for AC Milan in the second half of the encounter. The Rossoneri held on to pick up a first-ever win against Tottenham in the Champions League and a first knockout win since 2013. Both sides will renew hostilities at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three weeks’ time.