Tottenham Hotspur saw Red on Valentine’s day as AC Milan thrilled the hearts of their fans with an early goal from Brahim Diaz.
The UEFA Champions League returned on Tuesday night after over two months of hiatus and it definitely came back in grandstyle for the Rossoneri who did the job against the Lilywhites.
Former winger of Manchester City Brahim Diaz forced him from near range with just seven minutes into the commencement of the game.
The seven (7) time champions of this competition could have moved further apart from Tottenham Hotspur if they had converted two great chances that fell to their path.
Headed chances fell to Charles De Ketelaere and Malick Thiaw during the second half of proceedings in the encounter but they threw away those glorious opportunities.
Fans of the Italian giants would be hoping that in the return leg they don’t get to rue the opportunities lost.
Italian tactician Antonio Conte who is an irregular soldier in this phase of the competition would be contented to come away from AC Milan’s historical turf known as San Siro with only a goal conceded.
Antonio Conte’s midfield selection going into the game against AC Milan
Antonio Conte selected a midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr due to Rodrigo Bentacur being on the treatment table in addition to Pierre-Emile Hojberg also missing out because of a suspension.
Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr should offer themselves massive plaudits and thumbs up for a commendable shift which they put out against Italian league champions AC Milan.
Skipp and Pape Sarr wonderful on UEFA Champions League debut
This encounter provided the two midfielders their UEFA Champions League debut which they grabbed in impressive fashion.
Conte has every right to expect a positive result in the second leg as his boys although lost, they gave a good account of themselves.
They were pretty much the better side for large spells in the game but they were toothless upfront due to the defense of the Rossoneri perfectly ostracizing Son Heung Min and Harry Kane.
If they can gel in their final third then the second leg should provide a spectacle.
Brahim Diaz headed home a rebound that fell to his path following a wonderful double save made by Fraser Forster who is deputising in Tottenham Hotspur’s goal due to an injury to Hugo Lloris.
The Lilywhites introduced Brazilian Richarlison with twenty (20) minutes still left on the clock but they were still not sharp enough to avoid their first defeat to the Red and Blacks.
AC Milan by virtue of that first leg victory over Tottenham Hotspur moved one foot into their first UEFA Champions League appearance in the quarter final for the first time in eleven (11) years.
Stefano Pioli’s side were effective and dogged on the night, and they made sure Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t sniff any perfect chance at aiming for glory.
Ciprian Tatarusanu was basically a pedestrian for majority of the game with Theo Hernandez who had an hand in the build-up to AC Milan’s goal proving to be a stalwart in defense alongside Malick Thiaw.
The formation of AC Milan and Tottenham Hotspur in the encounter
AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli opted for a 3-4-2-1 formation while his Italian counterpart for Tottenham Hotspur went with a similar formation as well filing his side out in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
Tottenham boss speaking after the game talked about his desire for the Lilywhites to bring a wonderful atmosphere to their one (1) billion pound Tottenham Hotspur ground.
Conte’s comments after the game
Conte said: “You have to play two games. It was a fantastic atmosphere. I know San Siro, and I know the difficulty to play in this atmosphere.
“For sure in the second game we have to play in our stadium and for sure all the fans will create the right atmosphere to push us to overcome the Milan obstacle.”
Antonio Conte also spoke about how he relished what he saw: “I think it was better today – high intensity, and I think we played against a good team. Don’t forget Milan last season won the league in Italy,”
“I think that to concede the first goal, we can do much better. We conceded a goal after maybe only five minutes.
“Then we tried to lead the game, we tried to create situations to score, but I think Milan defended very well. We had chances to score, but at the end we are talking about a defeat, a loss.”
Antonio Conte’s take in the performance of Skipp and Pape Sarr
When asked about Skipp and Pape Sarr, he spoke impressively about their performance on the night: “I’m really satisfied for both players. They played a really good game and showed the trust that we have in them, they repaid this.
He also added: “Don’t forget we now have three midfielders and we have to continue maybe to the end of the season with these three midfielders, and to have this type of performance from Skippy and Pape Sarr makes me more relaxed because I know I can count on them 100 per cent.
“And then we have Pierre Hojbjerg who for us is a key player.”
The gaffer of the club based in Milan Stefano Pioli also had words of his own to say: “It was a difficult, hard-fought match against a tough team. We played a good game, but we know how tough it will be. But tonight I’m satisfied.”
Pioli continued: “This performance will give us morale, but we have to be attentive, dynamic, ready. We’ve had a difficult month, but we’re trying to overcome all the difficulties. I keep thinking and believing I’m coaching a truly special group.”
When queried on if he was disappointed for not having a wider lead, He answered: “Yes, for those two chances… De Ketelaere’s and Thiaw’s. But they, too, put us in difficulty and there are many positive aspects.
“It was only the first stage and the second will be even more difficult.”