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UEFA Champions League

  • November 6, 2012
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 30891

AC Milan 1-1 Malaga: Pato rescues point, but visitors confirm spot in next round

AC Milan 1-1 Malaga: Pato rescues point, but visitors confirm spot in next round

Saviola y compañía festejan el gol del Málaga / Getty

The Brazilian put the first goal past the Andalusians in the competition this season, though the Boquerones will be content to have advanced with two games to spare.

Malaga retained its unbeaten record in the UEFA Champions League, as a 1-1 draw with AC Milan at the San Siro was enough to confirm its progression to the Round of 16.

A win or draw would have ensured progression from Group C for Manuel Pellegrini's men, and that was certainly on the cards when Eliseu fired them ahead five minutes before half time. The second half brought a change in tactics from the visitors as they looked to defend their one-goal advantage; however, they were eventually beaten when Alexandre Pato headed in an equalizer in the 73rd minute as the teams shared the point.

With both teams keen to push forward it made for an extremely open start to the game in which possession was given away far too cheaply in midfield, stopping either side from getting into any sort of rhythm.

After Eliseu failed to beat Christian Abbiati with an ambitious chip, Milan began to take a hold of the game and pen its opponents back. In the 19th minute on the clock the hosts tested the away keeper for the first time, as Bojan showed fantastic feet to wriggle between a number of Malaga shirts out on the right. Having cut inside to create the space he lashed an effort on goal that, despite taking a deflection, was parried aside by the stretching Wilfredo Caballero.

The keeper then produced another inspired save as he tipped Urby Emanuelson's precise 20-yard free kick out. The Dutchman's effort looked destined for the top corner, but Caballero had other ideas, diving to his right and tipping the ball wide with the slightest of touches.

The Andalusians were largely restricted to playing on the counterattack but they still looked dangerous when Joaquin, Eliseu and Isco linked up intricately. It was one such combination that saw Malaga strike first five minutes before halftime. Isco shifted the ball away from Nigel De Jong before threading a diagonal ball to put Eliseu in behind. The Portuguese struck the ball first time and found the bottom corner with Abbiati rooted.

Massimiliano Allegri's side came out for the second half with much more urgency and forged a decent opportunity five minutes after the restart. Bojan fed Emanuelson at the top of the box but his shot was tame and rolled comfortably into the hands of Caballero.

The visitors then began to display why they have been so difficult to score against as they put two solid lines behind the ball and squeezed the space available to the Diavolo. But as they began to sit deeper and deeper, the pressure became too much and they conceded for the first time in the tournament. Kevin Constant exposed Joaquin's defensive frailties as he charged to the line and swung in a deep cross that Pato nodded in at the back post.

The draw puts Malaga in the hat for the next round, while second-placed Milan travels to Brussels in two weeks to face Anderlecht in a must-win fixture, with Anderlecht just a point behind the Rossoneri.