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UEFA Champions League
19 February 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: Pedro Proença
• Attendance: 65890
Diego Costa 83'
That's it from me, it's been a pleasure folks. Bye for now.
A monumental result for Simeone, who comes away from the San Siro with a clean sheet and an away goal thanks to a late bulldozing header from Costa. Milan had their chances, but saw an inspired Courotois in goal, and simply did not consistently create enough to change their situation. They now face an uphill battle for the second leg at the Vicente Calderon next month.
90' + 4'
FULL TIME! ATLETICO DRAW FIRST BLOOD!
90' + 4'
Adrian booked for a late hack on Kaka, and Milan have a late chance to pump the ball into the box. They do just that, but there's a handball on Pazzini, and Atletico regain possession. That may just be that as they are in no hurry to restart play.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Adrián
90' + 3'
After eating nearly a minute off the clock, Gabi goes for glory...but slams it right into the wall. Still, that might just do it, and in the concurrent first leg round of 16 tie over at the Emirates, the final whistle has blown as Bayern defeat Arsenal 2-0.
90' + 2'
A late, careless leg from Rami clips Costa in full stride right on the edge of the area. A yellow for the Milan defender, and a splendid opportunity for Atletico to pile further misery on Milan here. The visitors are taking their sweet time over this...
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Adil Rami
Three minutes of added time signaled by the fourth official. Milan are doing a terrible job of making a last stand to salvage something here. Atletico are passing them out of the game and are moments away from closing out what will be an excellent result.
Poli is dropped outside the box by Juanfran, and Milan have another opportunity from a set piece. Rami steps forward to take responsibilities with Balotelli off the pitch, and there's only going to be one approach. He hammers it at goal, but it whistles past the far post with Courtois at full stretch!
EMIRATES UPDATE: After relentless pressure throughout the second half, Bayern have broken ten man Arsenal's resistance for the second time as Muller has headed them into a two goal lead. That may just be it for that tie than. Like Demichelis vs Barcelona yesterday, a red card has completely changed the game.
Last throw of the dice from Seedorf, as Constant replaces Poli with five minutes to go. Not sure how that helps there hopes of pulling back a quick goal before the end of the game, but what's done is done.
Well Milan are stunned now, and must be ruing those two missed chances from Poli and Kaka in the first half - despite Courtois' heroics. It's going to be very difficult for them at the Vicente Calderon next month if this scoreline holds.
Goal Diego Costa
A PRICELESS GOAL for Atletico! The corner comes in from the right hand side, and is flicked on inadvertently by Abate towards the opposite side. Costa is backtracking, but still manages to power an INCREDIBLE header into the back of the net!
COSTA HAS DONE IT!
Atletico have shifted to a 4-3-3 for the remainder of the game it seems, and try to put pressure om Abbiati with a corner from Rodriguez, but it's nothing but catching practice for the Rossoneri goalkeeper. Time starting to run out here if any of these sides have ambitions of scoring tonight.
Half a chance for Garcia, as he flashes an effort over the bar from inside the box. That is indeed his last action of the match as he's summoned to the bench, being replaced by Adrian. No appearance yet for Sosa or Villa then, and one of them will be disappointed with only a single sub left for SImeone to utilize.
Well then. Seedorf makes his move, taking off Balotelli and replacing him with Pazzini, who makes his first appearance in the Champions League this season. Signs of a shoulder problem for the former Manchester City man, and Seedorf is clearly taking no chances.
Garcia finds the gap to take a shot at goal, and takes it, driving the ball right between a defender's legs. It's seen late by Abbiati, who still manages to save but spill the effort - recovering in time to grab the loose ball at the second attempt ahead of the lurking figure of Costa!
Substitution time, and it's the visitors who go first. Turan departs after a fairly quiet game for Rodriguez. Pazzini is spotted finishing up his warmup on the sidelines, and Seedorf could be quick to follow suit with a change of his own.
Milan continue to pile pressure in the direction of the Atletico goal in the last few minutes, and Taarabt has half of a sight at goal at the far post, after the Rojiblancos fail to clear Essien's clip into the area. The former Tottenham Hotspur man flashes a drive in at goal, but a mass of yellow shirts contrive to block the shot.
Not for the first time, Balotelli slams the free kick into the wall to end a promising opening. Hard to blame him there though, as the Atletico wall could not have been more than five or six yards from the ball. Strangely, there's no hint of a protest from Balo, perhaps the referee had some really decisive words for him earlier?
A very untidy challenge from Diego Costa takes out Balotelli, and the Brazilian gets his name taken in the referee's notebook. A very mature reaction from Balotelli avoids further eruption - though the striker may have had his attention diverted by what is now a tasty free kick opportunity for Milan...
Yellow Card Diego Costa
Balotelli is right in the face of the referee, clearly incensed by a challenge from Raul Garcia. The referee is unmoved by his protests though, and tells him to get back to the game. Little signs of petulance there from Milan's star striker.
Balotelli presides over a free kick some 40 yards from Courtois in the Atletico goal, but slams it right into the wall and out for a corner. From the resulting delivery, Essien attacks the ball unmarked at the centre of the box, but despite an impressive leap, he cannot come near to the target.
It's about that stage of the game where the managers decide to stick or twist. Nowadays, both sides will look at this result as far from the worst thing in the world. Atletico have been slightly better in this second half, and have a bevy of attacking options in reserve should they decide to put the pedal to the metal.
The visitors attempt to show some imagination from that set play in a bid to unlock the defence. The ball is touched back to Garcia, who clips it towards the near post. Miranda flicks it to Godin at the opposite post, but the Uruguayan defender timed his run badly and is called for an offside.
Bonera becomes the next player in the referee's notebook, taking out Costa, who had his back to goal. Not only is he booked, but he's also given up a very tasty free kick opportunity for Atletico Madrid...
Yellow Card Daniele Bonera
Kaka collects a square pass from Taarabt on the top of the box and shimmies towards the near post before lashing a shot towards the far corner. Courtois is stretching, but he needn't have bothered as it goes at least a foot wide of the target in the end. Some more positive signs from the Rossoneri though as they begin to open up more shooting chances.
There's a glint of an opening for Taarabt, whose silky footwork diverts the attention of his marker and frees him for a shot at the top of the box. He tries to pick out the far corner, but gets it all wrong, scuffing his attempt into the ground as Courtois does not have to move to collect the ball.
A problem here for Garcia, who is down on the turf after succumbing to a late challenge, and the physios are on the scene immediately. He looks, after some treatment, to be able to continue, but for now, he will remain on the sidelines and Atletico are temporarily reduced to 10 men.
Atletico looking more threatening in this half, playing a more ambitious game than they did towards the close of the first period. Still, it's been an impressive rearguard display from the Rossoneri, who have reduced the likes of Costa to little more than half chances for the majority of the game.
EMIRATES UPDATE: It's turned into one way traffic in the direction of the Arsenal goal since Szczesny's dismissal, and Kroos, exactly as he did in the identical fixture last season, has given Bayern the lead with a stunning strike from outside the area.
Koke gets the ball on the right hand side, and has plenty of time to pick out Costa, who pulled away from Abate into space at the far post. He decides to to for an ambitious overhead kick, and connects well, but sends it about two feet too high. The spectacular choice, but not necessarily the right one as he had time to bring that cross under control.
A very conservative start to the second period, in complete contrast to the half that preceded it. Atletico, as they did at the beginning of the game, are positive in their passing during the initial stages, but Milan are staying disciplined at the back and are forcing them to bide their time with the ball away from the box.
Strong play by Costa down the right hand side sees him open up space to play in Garcia. The midfielder attempts to blast it towards goal, and gets a deflection off Rami that rolls right back into his path. His second strike is nowhere near the target though, and Milan can breathe.
Here we go again, as Atletico restart the game!
With Villa, Rodriguez, Sosa and Adrian all in reserve for the Rojoblancos, you have to favour the visitors' options in reserve, especially if they decide to steal an away goal in the second half. Will Simeone or Seedorf deem it time enough for a chance? The second half is just around the corner to stay tuned.
It's been an enjoyable and end to end first half, though there was a slight damper on proceedings as Mattia De Sciglio was forced off with injury, being replaced by Ignazio Abate, who wasted little time with an important interception that prevented Garcia from having a tap in.
No question which side was more relieved to hear the referee's whistle for the interval. Courtois has been by far the busier of the two keepers, and had to produce two otherworldly saves to thwart Kaka and Poli in the first half. Milan were the better side, but there certainly were some positive signs from the home side, with Garcia's movement in the box around Costa causing some problems.
45' + 1'
There we have it for the first half, as the referee signals for the interval after barely one minute of added time.
Yellow Card Ignazio Abate
Abate hacks down Koke on an Atletico break and the Milan fullback, who has been excellent since replacing the injured De Sciglio just before the half hour mark, receives the first blot on his copybook with the yellow card.
The home side have another opportunity to take the lead, as Balotelli sidefoots a loose ball from the top of the box. You could see his intent as clear as day, but he just cannot find his range as the ball loops over the top of the crossbar and out!
Yellow Card Mario Suárez
Juanfran's bursting run down the right hand side is another exciting avenue for the visitors, but his ball into the box is cut out immediately. Balotelli breaks down the other end of the pitch, and he is halted in his tracks by Suarez, who takes one for the team and accepts the yellow card.
EMIRATES UPDATE: Arsenal have conceded a penalty, as Wojciech Szczesny clipped Arjen Robben and was sent off. But David Alaba failed from the spot, clipping the base of the post despite substitute keeper Lukas Fabianski diving the wrong way! Two missed penalties at the Emirates!
Real trouble here for Turan, who is down on the deck clutching his ankle after a hefty De Jong challenge. It was not malicious in the slightest from the Dutch midfielder, and the Turk thankfully looks ok to continue, despite moving a little gingerly.
Abate then shows his commitment at the other end of the field, overlapping down the right hand side and whipping in a lovely cross just before he passes the byeline. Poli attacks it in the centre, but under pressure from Godin, he cannot make contact. Appeals for a penalty from the midfielder there, but no dice as far as the referee is concerned.
VITAL,VITAL TOUCH FROM ABATE!!! Costa dinged in a threatening low cross into the area and Garcia, whose off the ball movement in this game has been excellent, peels towards the far post and is primed to drill it in! But the substitute gets the faintest of toes to poke it away, and narrowly avoids turning it into his own net!
It seems that there's another Milan player in need of some patching up, as Balotelli is hunched over holding his face. He appeared to have taken a forearm shiver in the chops from Miranda during one of their frequent battles, and the referee just halts the game for a moment to make sure that the striker is all right. Which he is.
MILAN GO CLOSE AGAIN! Wonderful hold up play from Balotelli, who shrugs off the attention of Miranda and lays a delicious backheel into the path of Kaka. The Brazilian cannot help but lash a curler towards goal instantly, but it just whizzes over the crossbar and bounces onto the roof of the net! Courtois looked to just about have it covered though...
We've reached the half hour mark, and it's still goalless here at San Siro. However, that's not for the lack of trying, as Milan have created two gilt edged opportunities to take the lead. It's also been a tour de force from the Rossoneri faithful, who have been buoyed by their team's positivity and are putting plenty of fire in their belly with their incessant noise.
The referee is forced to intervene more than once in the last few moments as the game gets a little scrappy. The Insua ruckus shows that this match will always be bubbling under the surface, and there's been more than a few arguments between both sets of players. Not quite boiling over, but it's making for an absorbing spectacle.
Mattia De Sciglio
De Sciglio has never fully gotten back in stride following that Insua challenge for which the Atletico man was booked. And indeed, he cannot play any further part in the game, with Ignazio Abate coming on to replace him. Not a change that Seedorf would have wanted to make, and you never want to see players forced off in that manner.
In an increasingly rare moment of attacking intent from the visiting side, Turan digs out a cross from the right wing towards the late run of Garcia towards the near post. However, despite impressively flicking a header towards goal, he fails to trouble Abbiati in any way.
This has been a hugely impressive spell from Milan in the last ten minutes or so. They've shaken off that nerve ridden start to play Atletico off the park. But there's no goals to show for it, mostly thanks to the imperious Courtois and his pair of WORLD CLASS saves. The Rossoneri need to make this positivity count!
With the fires quelled, the referee eventually finds Insua and shows the Atletico defender a yellow card. It was a late challenge from him, and a good decision by the referee to book him, while not going crazy with the cards to punish those involved in that fracas.
Yellow Card Emiliano Insúa
We have a ruckus people! Insua dives right into De Sciglio like a pool on the first day of summer. The Milan players take umbrage immediately, and swarm near the scene of the crime on the touchline. Atletico follow suit, and the referee has to pull bodies off of one another to get a handle on the situation!
COURTOIS IS ABSOLUTELY SPELLBINDING AGAIN! Taarabt again is running tings for the Rossoneri, and he whips in a dagger ball to Poli inside the area. The former Inter man impressively flicks a header towards the far side, but an INHUMAN dive from Courtois sees him claw the ball onto the woodwork for the second time!
Costa shows some silky footwork to eliminate the pressure from no less than three Rossoneri players, and his slide rule pass out to Turan on the left flank opens up an excellent attacking avenue for the visitors on the break. The Turk attempts to pick out Koke, but Rami gets himself there first!
Milan fashion the first genuine opening of the match and my goodness did they go close. Taarabt plays in Kaka with a diagonal ball into the area, and the Brazilian smashes the ball towards goal. But Courtois makes a MAGNIFICENT save, brushing the ball with his fingertips onto the crossbar!
ARSENAL-BAYERN UPDATE: It's been an extremely open game so far with chances at either end. Toni Kroos and surprise starter Yaya Sanogo have both tested the opposition keeper, but by far the best chance fell to Mesut Ozil, who won a penalty but saw a poor spot kick saved by Manuel Neuer!
A real ebb and flow developing to the game now. Milan are finding far more space in the opposition half, though the back four of Atletico are holding an excellent shape. A solid passing sequence from the Rossoneri is ruined as De Jong steps outside his station to blast away at goal from well out and he nearly takes out a floodlight. No need to dwell on that any further.
But it's disappointing in the end, as the striker goes for goal from all of 35 yards, and the ball bends the wrong side of the post. He scored a stunner from a similar position in the last game here against Bologna, and it was clear that his intent was for the exact same outcome.
Milan have a chance now to break the waves of pressure in their own half as Balotelli is hacked down by Miranda. A good opportunity for the Rossoneri to get a quality ball into the area and cause some pressure. Balotelli stands over the ball...
The ball is swept in by Juanfran down the right, and Garcia stretches every sinew to reach the ball ahead of Bonera, but the Milan defender does exceptionally well to get there first. Still the visitors lay siege in the opposition half.
Atletico enjoying the lion's share of possession in the opening minutes of the game. They are not allowing Milan any time on the ball, and it's simply one way traffic at the moment. A few years ago, the Rossoneri would have been clean favorites here, but such is the magnitude of Simeone's achievements at the helm of the Rojiblancos that the opposite is very much the case for this tie.
Milan are playing the long ball game as they attempt to stymie some early Atletico possession. Balotelli is the target as ever, and it will be an interesting battle for Miranda and Godin against the enigmatic striker. He scored a 35-yard cracker over the weekend - will that Balo turn up tonight?
Immediately AC Milan are on the back foot. Atletico work the ball cleverly down the left hand side, as Diego Costa holds off his man close to the near post. He tries to pick out Garcia running centrally, but the defence manage to clear their lines in the end.
Here we go! Atletico kick us off!
The teams are on the pitch and we're just about ready...
The Spanish side has not reached the last eight of this tournament since 1997 - when Diego Simeone was still donning the red and white. They last appeared at this stage of the competition five years ago. The omens are in their favour, as they have taken the spoils in their last three games against Italian opponents, scoring eight and conceding just one.
It's been a bit of a downer on Atletico's incredible season lately, with three straight losses earlier in the month, but a more encouraging 3-0 win over Valladolid last weekend seems to have righted the ship. With 60 points from 24 games, the Rojiblancos are dead level with Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, with identical 19-3-1 records so far.
Milan coach Clarence Seedorf may be one of the most experienced and decorated Champions League players ever, winning the competition four times with three different clubs. However, tonight marks his debut in the dugout in this competition, and he will have a lot of work to do to halt Milan's record of defeats in their last four knockout ties against Spanish opposition.
David Villa's race for fitness falls just short, as he has to settle for a place on the bench. He's joined there by Wolfsburg loanee Diego who, alongside Adrian and Cristian Rodriguez, ensure that the visitors have plenty of firepower in reserve. Insua and Mario Suarez therefore are both boosted into the starting XI tonight by coach Diego Simeone.
Adel Taarabt will make his Champions League debut tonight. His only prior European experience came in the 2007-08 Uefa Cup for Tottenham. He will line up with captain Kaka just behind Mario Balotelli. There's no room for Philippe Mexes or Ignazio Abate in the XI, as Mattia De Sciglio and Urby Emanuelson will man either full back spot.
ATLETICO MADRID SUBS: Aranzubia, Alderweireld, Cristian Rodríguez, Sosa, Diego, Adrián López, Villa.
ATLETICO MADRID: Courtois, Godín, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda, Mario Suárez, Koke, Raúl García, Arda Turan, Gabi, Diego Costa.
AC MILAN SUBS: Amelia, Mexès, Abate, Constant, Zaccardo, Pazzini, Petagna.
AC MILAN: Abbiati, De Sciglio, Rami, Bonera, Essien, Poli, Emanuelson, de Jong, Kaká, Taarabt, Balotelli.
Let's delve into the teams, shall we?
Greetings everyone, and welcome back to the Champions League! We have quite a special one for you today, as AC Milan host Atletico Madrid at San Siro in the first leg of the Round of 16! My name is Keeghann Sinanan, your designated scribe for all the action.
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