AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Wasteful Rossoneri at San Siro

AC Milan had only themselves to blame after a wasteful night at San Siro against Newcastle United, who made their return to Champions League football after 20 years.

0-0 was not justified for the Rossoneri, who made 25 shots in total, with nine of those on target vs. one shot on target by the Premier League side.

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Rafael Leao, Tommaso Pobega, and Olivier Giroud spurned their chances in a game with an expected goal total of 2.06, but no actual goals were scored.

AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle – Highlights

Newcastle qualified for the UCL group stage for the first time since the 2002/03 season; Eddie Howe’s side were rewarded with a place in Group F – Group of Death – alongside European luminaries Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund, as well as last year’s semi-finalists Milan.

AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Wasteful host at San Siro
AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Wasteful host at San Siro

Eddie Howe brought his strong XI to face one of the biggest clubs in UCL history, and there were understandable nerves from the visitors.

Meanwhile, Stefano Pioli made three alterations to the team that lost the derby on Saturday as Fikayo Tomori came back into the defense for Simon Kjaer, Tommaso Pobega took Tijjani Reijnders’ spot in midfield, and Samuel Chukwueze got the nod on the right of the front three over Christian Pulisic.

AC Milan were held by Newcastle at San Siro
AC Milan were held by Newcastle at San Siro

There was no surprise as Milan started the game brightly with total control early on. Leao and Pobega tested their luck, but a brilliant Nick Pope denied both in the post.

The chances kept coming, but Pope kept saving as Newcastle’s shot-stopper had a more busy day than Mike Maignan.

Milan were the better side for the rest of the game, with the central moment being a Pobega shot from a clearance that was desperately cleared off the line. But somehow, Rossoneri could not find a way through the visitors.

Leao might have been guilty of some over-confidence inside the box. He broke into the area and kept dribbling and dribbling past defenders, but he tried a back-heel flick and ended up falling over. Pobega’s follow-up effort was then cleared off the line by Burn.

The game’s closing stages were best characterized by Milan getting into the box and players either leaving it to each other or failing to connect with the deliveries that came in as the home fans’ frustration grew.

Giroud took the ball 40 yards with two minutes left on the clock, and with runners on either side he chose to shoot from outside the box, straight at Pope.

In added time, Newcastle finally had a shot on goal as Longstaff took aim from distance, but Sportiello did well to fingertip it over the bar.

Rafael Leao wasted a huge chance at Newcastle
Rafael Leao wasted a huge chance at Newcastle

What’s next for Milan and Newcastle

AC Milan return to action in Serie A on Saturday at home to Verona. Their next Champions League Group F fixture is at Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, October 4.

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