Milan vs Tottenham 1-0: Rossoneri Take Slim First Leg Advantage

At the San Siro Stadium, Milan and Tottenham Hotspur put their domestic woes behind them as they resumed their European campaign as the two sides crossed paths in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16. Nonetheless, it was the Diavolo who snatched an early lead through Brahim Diaz and maintained their slim advantage until the final whistle, piling more misery upon the Londoners.

Starting Lineups

Stefano Pioli maintained his newly-adopted 3-4-2-1 formation, with Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz supporting Olivier Giroud upfront. Rade Krunic stood in for the injured Ismael Bannacer, joining Sandro Tonali in the double pivot, while Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria took the wings. Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw and Simon Kjaer made up the back-three.

On his return to the Meazza, Antonio Conte also unleashed a 3-4-2-1 lineup, spearheaded as usual by his captain Harry Kane, while Dejan Kulusevski and Son Hueng-min acted as the supporting crew. In the absence of the suspended Pierre Hojbjerg and the injured Rodrigo Bentancur, it had to be Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr in the makeshift midfield, while former Inter star Ivan Perisic started as a left wingback.

Milan Take Early Lead

While many were expecting a cautious start, the Rossoneri wasted no time, taking an early lead at the 7th minute, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It all started when Theo won an aerial duel against Cristian Romero before charging from the left flank. The Frenchman fired a hopeful shot from a tight angle and it exploded against Fraser Forster’s body.

Despite losing his balance, the custodian then pulled off an impressive save on Diaz’s initial rebound, but could little when the attacking midfielder latched on the second rebound to nod the ball home from goalmouth.

Following the goal, the encounter turned into a cagey tactical affair dominated by physical duels in the middle of the park. Tottenham failed to genuinely threaten Milan in the first half, expect for a late shot from Son followed by Kane’s rebound which crashed against the post, but the goal wouldn’t have stood anyway due to an offside call.

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Coy Spurs Fail to Threaten

The second period proved to be more of the same. Although the North Londoners had the better of ball possession, they couldn’t forge scoring opportunities worth mentioning, with Eric Dier’s long-range drive being their most memorable effort.

In fact, it was the Italian champions who came closer to doubling their lead, with substitutes Charles De Ketelaere and Junior Messias missing free headers from close range.

See You in London

At the end of the day, Milan will travel to the English capital next week with a slim advantage, but they can expect to be entertained by a better version from Tottenham, who obviously weren’t anywhere near their best in their Italian journey. Therefore, qualification remains up in the air.

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