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UEFA Champions League
7 November 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 30891
Alexandre Pato 73'
Milan are now unbeaten in four matches in all competitions but it is Malaga who go marching on to the knockout stages. That's all from me on what has been an entertaining Champions League night at the Giuseppe Meazza. Good night.
With Anderlecht's first victory in Group C, Milan remain in second place, one point ahead of the Belgian side and two above Zenit. Allegri's side travel to the Constant Vanden Stock on Wednesday November 21 before hosting the Russian champions at the Giuseppe Meazza on Tuesday December 4 in two crunch ties. Can the seven-times European Champions avoid a shock upset?
As for Malaga, the fairytale continues and the attacking midfield trio of Eliseu, Joaquin and Isco are certain to scare opposition defences across Europe. How far Malaga can go is uncertain but if they can continue the same defensive spirit that they have shown in this tournament so far, it is not unreasonable to suggest that they could be this year's underdogs. A fantastic achievement for the Andalusian side who found themselves in economic turmoil at the beginning of the season.
Milan can take positives from the fact that Pato returned to the scoresheet but they still lack that creative spark which has been absent in many matches this season.
THAT'S THE FULL TIME WHISTLE! Malaga survive a second-half onslaught to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages in their debut campaign. Manuel Pellegrini will be delighted with the resilience shown by his side. As for Milan, there is still much work to be done but with ties against Anderlecht and Zenit to come, Allegri's side can still qualify.
90' + 3'
Malaga looking to hold on to possession in the closing stages but they cannot keep the ball. Seconds remaining.
90' + 2'
All hands to the pump for Malaga as Milan look to launch the ball into the box. Martin Demichelis once again rises highest to nod clear. The Argentine centre-back has been solid tonight.
There will be four minutes of stoppage time at the Giuseppe Meazza. As results stand, Malaga will qualify for the knockout stages.
Malaga nearly snatch it at the death when Constant slips when trying to intercept Sebastian Fernandez's through pass but Roque Santa Cruz does not anticipate the mistake and the ball is allowed to run through to Abbiati.
Brilliant tackle from Camacho! Just as Bojan is ready to pull the trigger, the holding midfielder produces a goal-saving tackle to divert the ball behind for a corner.
Mexes makes a burst forward in an attempt to join the attack. Milan are really pushing for the three points here.
Milan continue to pour forward in numbers but they cannot penetrate this stubborn Malaga defence. Five minutes remaining for either side to find the winner.
Bojan attempts a piledriver from range but his effort is expertly blocked by Jesus Gamez.
Both sides are struggling to fashion chances in the closing stages although Milan nearly find a way through after some delightful one-touch passing between De Jong and Pato, but Weligton is on hand to dispossess the Brazilian.
There is also a change for Los Boquerones as Uruguayan winger Sebastian Fernandez replaces Joaquin.
Final roll of the dice for Milan as Robinho replaces Emanuelson. Can the Brazilian's flair turn this game in his side's favour?
The Milan crowd are really behind their side now and are roaring them forward. Bojan looks to get in behind Jesus Gamez but the Andalusian defender does well to intercept a through pass.
Milan are really in the ascendency now and Kevin Prince Boateng does excellently to control De Sciglio's cross but is slightly off balance and strikes straight at Caballero.
Pellegrini looks to add fresh legs to his midfield by replacing Manuel Iturra with French midfielder Jeremy Toulalan.
GOOOALLL PATO! The Brazilian striker scores his first goal in nearly eight months, rising highest at the back post to head Kevin Constant's cross into the turf and past the hapless Caballero. Where was the marking? Game on!
Can Allegri's side find a route back into this match with under 20 minutes remaining? Giampaolo Pazzini looks on from the touchline.
Santa Cruz immediately finds himself in the thick of the action but his shot from the edge of the box is scuffed into the gloves of Abbiati.
Roque Santa Cruz
First Malaga substitution as on-loan Manchester City targetman Roque Santa Cruz replaces Javier Saviola. Manuel Pellegrini perhaps looking for his wingers to cross the ball into the box for the tall Paraguayan striker.
There is a stoppage in play as Manuel Iturra receives treatment after a 50:50 challenge with Bonera.
Kevin Prince Boateng looks to play the killer pass into the path of Pato but his pass is just overhit and Caballero collects. Good idea from the Ghana international.
Yellow CardSergio Sánchez
Sergio Sanchez gives away a freekick in a dangerous position but Urby Emanuelson's curling effort evades the wall but is a routine save for Caballero.
Weligton picks up a booking after a challenge through the back of Bojan. The Spanish striker has looked dangerous in the second half.
Javier Saviola finds himself up one-on-one against Daniele Bonera but the Italian defender does excellently to steal the ball way from the Argentine striker in a dangerous position.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Stephan El Shaarawy has been rather anonymous in this match and he is replaced by Kevin Prince Boateng. The Rossoneri crowd don't seem too impressed with the decision mind.
Milan attack in numbers and El Shaarawy spreads the ball out wide to Urby Emanuelson who strikes his effort high over the crossbar.
Yellow CardManuel Iturra
Manuel Iturra is cautioned for a mistimed challenge on Bojan.
The Milan fans whistle in unison as they believe Caballero is timewasting. Allegri is in deep discussions with his assistants on the touchline, a substitution can't be too far away.
Isco, whose glorious pass set up the opening goal, once again looks to unlock the Milan defence with a cute chipped pass but the danger is read by Mexes who clears the danger.
Riccardo Montolivo is screaming for a penalty when his cheeky flick appears to strike the hand of Camacho. Howard Webb is not interested in the appeals and waves play on.
Yellow CardRiccardo Montolivo
Riccardo Montolivo receives a caution for a mistimed tackle on Ignacio Camacho. Much more urgency in this Milan side in this second half.
Milan continue to dominate these early stages of the second half and Constant does brilliantly to trick his way past his marker before feeding El Shaarawy who with his back to goal, swivels and sends an effort just wide of the post.
Bright start to the second half for Milan with Allegri's team-talk clearly fresh in their minds. Bojan sets Emanuelson clear with a well-timed through pass but the Dutchman's first-time shot is comfortably saved by Caballero.
Bojan's low freekick is wasteful and strikes Weligton. Kevin Constant does well to get past Gamez down the left but his deep cross fails to pick out a Milan shirt in the middle.
Pato forces Demichelis into a foul on the edge of the box 40 seconds into the second half. Good opportunity for Milan to snatch an equaliser...
45 minutes separate Malaga from the knockout stages, can they hold on to their invaluable lead. The second half awaits...
Milan really need to get El Shaarawy in the game, the 20-year-old has been in scintillating form of late, scoring nine goals in 14 games for Milan this campaign but he is yet to make his mark on this match.
In the other match in Group C, Anderlecht lead Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 courtesy of Mbokani's 17th minute strike.
What have been your thoughts on the first half? Let me know via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
HALF TIME AT THE GIUSEPPE MEAZZA: MILAN 0 - 1 MALAGA. The Andalusian side have a deserved lead going into the break courtesy of Eliseu's strike. Allegri needs to shake things up because Milan are struggling to break down Malaga's defensive resistance, who are yet to concede in this year's competition.
Urby Emanuelson nearly restores parity when his left-footed rocket flies narrowly over the crossbar. Malaga are defending excellently and causing their opponents to try their luck from distance.
Yellow CardUrby Emanuelson
The Milan crowd have reacted to their side going behind and are urging their side forward in search of an equaliser before half-time. They are struggling to find that killer pass behind the Malaga defence.
MALAGA TAKE THE LEAD! Isco is the architect as he shuffles past De Jong with ease and slips an incise diagonal pass into the path of Eliseu who makes no mistake by firing an arrowed shot under Abbiati and into the corner.
Milan's three-pronged attacking duo of El Shaarawy, Pato and Bojan have struggled to combine so far and Bojan's intended through ball for his Italian strike partner runs out of play, to the frustration of the home crowd.
Tempers beginning to flair a little as Pato and Demichelis become involved in a heated dispute. Moments later Bojan goes down under a challenge from Sergio Sanchez. Can the deadlock be broken before the break?
Yellow CardNigel De Jong
Nigel De Jong receives the first caution of the game for a mistimed challenge on Manuel Iturra.
Malaga are looking very dangerous whenevere they come forward with Isco, Joaquin and Eliseu linking up in neat triangles. Eliseu once again surges to the barline but he cannot find a blue and white shirt with his cutback.
Malaga attack down the other end and it requires a wonderful interception from Daniele Bonera to prevent Javier Saviola from turning in Joaquin's low cross from the right.
FANTASTIC SAVE BY CABALLERO! The Malaga shotstopper produces a magnificent one-handed save to divert Emanuelson's curling effort from nestling in the top left-hand corner.
Martin Demichelis is fortunate to escape a booking when he brings down Pato on the edge of the box. Good opportunity for Emanuelson's left boot here...
Riccardo Montolivo is starting to see more of the ball for Milan and he tries his luck from an acute angle which is comfortably saved by Caballero.
Milan are starting to stamp their authority on this game now but the Malaga defence stands firm to head clear two corners from Emanuelson.
Milan are beginning to turn the screw here and twice threaten Caballero's goal through El Shaarawy's deflected drive and Montolivo's curling effort just around the post. Good spell for the Rossoneri.
Much better from Milan! Bojan finds the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty box before jinking his way past a defender and striking a left footed effort which Caballero does well to fingertip around the post.
Milan have yet to trouble Willy Caballero in the Malaga goal but Alexandre Pato nearly has a sniff of goal when Kevin Constant's cross from the left is collected by the keeper.
Malaga continue to come forward in numbers and are playing some beautiful passing football. Eliseu is sent clear down the left and spotting Abbiati off his line, he attempts to chip the goalkeeper but his shot flies safely into the hands of the Italian veteran.
Javier Saviola clips a delightful pass out to Joaquin, who cuts inside the penalty box only to be denied by a vital challenge from Emanuelson. He had to get that spot on there, else the referee could have been pointing to the spot.
Malaga are pressing Milan very high up the pitch and are not allowing the midfield trio of Constant, Montolivo and De Jong to settle on the ball. Not seen too much of the in-form El Shaarawy so far.
Pato does excellently to take the ball down on his chest from Abbiati's goalkick and skips past two defenders before being dispossessed by Demichelis. The Brazilian is starting to look sharper after his long absence.
Malaga have started the brighter of the two sides and are looking to cause Milan problems with the pace of Eliseu and Joaquin down the flanks. Milan are struggling to get hold of the ball.
Mattia De Sciglio
Early change for Milan as Ignazio Abate is forced off with an early knock to be replaced by Mattia De Sciglio.
Malaga counter attack down the left with Eliseu and his teasing low cross for Joaquin is prevented by the outstretched boot of Urby Emanuelson. That was a crucial interception otherwise the Spanish winger would have been clean through.
Quick tempo to this game in the early stages and Pato nearly gets clear but Ignazio Abate's clever reverse pass is intercepted by Weligton.
Early chance for Malaga as Eliseu whips in a freekick, looking for the aerial threat of Martin Demichelis and as the ball is headed back to him, he unleashes a venomous right-footed effort over the bar from 25 yards.
We are underway at the Giuseppe Meazza!
Philippe Mexes and Daniele Bonera will be suspended for the next Champions League match if they pick up a caution for the Rossoneri. Martin Demichelis and Manuel Iturra are one yellow card away for Los Boquerones.
The Champions League anthem echoes around the Giuseppe Meazza. Tonight's referee is England's Howard Webb who officiated the 2010 World Cup final.
The last time that Milan beat Spanish opposition at home was in a 1-0 victory against Barcelona in the group stages of the 2004/05 Champions League season. The 1-0 victory over the Rossoneri on matchday three ensured that Malaga won their first ever fixture against Italian opposition.
Malaga make just one change from the side that suffered a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Rayo Vallecano with left-back Sergio Sanchez replacing Francisco Portillo, allowing Eliseu to push forward into midfield.
Milan make three changes from the team that thumped Chievo at the weekend with Daniele Bonera, Nigel De Jong and Alexandre Pato being restored to the starting eleven in place of Christian Zapata, Massimo Ambrosini and Giampaolo Pazzini.
Malaga (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Gamez, Weligton, Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez; Camacho, Iturra; Joaquin, Isco, Eliseu; Saviola.
Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Bonera, Emanuelson; Constant, De Jong, Montolivo; Pato, Bojan, El Shaarawy.
Victory for Malaga tonight will seal their progress to the knockout stages of the Uefa Champions League but tonight they face a stern test against a Milan side who are beginning to show signs of a resurgence, having demolished Chievo 5-1 on the weekend. Manuel Pellegrini's side won the first contest courtesy of Joaquin's strike at La Rosaleda and are yet to concede a goal in this season's competition. From the Giuseppe Meazza, I, Max Bentley, bring you Milan vs Malaga. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and predictions on the game via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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