Junior Messias’ header three minutes from time downed Atletico Madrid and kept AC Milan’s hopes of qualification from Champions League Group B alive.
Milan were the better side throughout the match and almost went ahead moments earlier through another substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Jan Oblak produced a point blank save.
Then Franck Kessie clipped a cross from the left flank which the Brazilian Messias planted home leaving Oblak with no chance.
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AC Milan’s Brazilian forward Junior Messias heads the ball and scores his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League first round Group B football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and AC Milan at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on No
Image credit: Getty Images
There was still time for Atletico to secure an equaliser which would have put qualification in their own hands in the final game, but Matheus Cunha inexplicably failed to make a good contact from Marcos Llorente’s cross which set him up four yards from goal.
The result means Porto remain second in the group on five points, while Milan and Atletico both have four points. Atletico travel to Portugal for the sixth group game while Milan host Liverpool.
TALKING POINT – IS THIS THE END OF SIMEONE ERA?
“With their quality, Atletico could play proper football.”
This quote from Jurgen Klopp seems increasingly relevant the more you watch Atleti this season. Like most departures of his closest comparator as a genius defensive coach, Jose Mourinho, Diego Simeone’s tenure as Atletico was unlikely to end with him walking into the sunset. While his side was successful, as they have been during his superb ten-year tenure in Madrid, the style of football did not matter. Now after establishing themselves as a deserving member of a big three in Spain, if they are to go out of the Champions League and not curb their habit of drawing games they should win in La Liga, fans and board will wonder if other coaches could get more out of the playing personnel – and it is likely the club’s best ever coach will head for the exit door.
Diego Simeone (Atlético)
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – STEFAN SAVIC (ATLETICO MADRID)
The last thing a brawler loses is his punch, so goes the boxing parlance. Similarly, the last thing a Diego Simeone side loses is its willingness to scrap. Nothing epitomised this more than Stefan Savic who throughout the game was on hand to head away, slide tackle or intercept Milan attacks. It appeared his spirit had secured a point when despite slipping he managed to lunge at Tiemoue Bakayoko’s shot to stop Milan taking the lead.
Atletico: Oblak 7, Llorente 6, Savic 8*, Gimenez 6, Hermoso 6, Carrasco 5; Koke, 6 Lemar 7, De Paul 6; Griezmann 7, Luis Suarez 5.
Subs: Lodi 6, Correa 6, Cunha 5, Vrsaljko 6, Kondogbia 6.
Milan: Tatarusanu 7, Kalulu 7, Romagnoli 7, Kjaer 7, Theo Hernandez 8, Kessie 7, Tonali 7, Saelemaekers 7, Krunic 6, Brahim Diaz 7, Giroud 6.
Subs: Florenzi 7, Bakayoko 7, Bennacer 7, Ibrahimovic 6, Messias 8.
71′ Great chance for Bakayoko as Messias got to the by-line and picked him out but his effort was blocked by Savic.
86′ Ibrahimovic is played through on goal by Bennacer but is denied by a fantastic save from Oblak.
87′ GOAL FOR MILAN! It has been coming. Messias heads home a great cross from Kessie to keep Milan alive.
90+1′ What a miss! Llorente slides a ball across the six-yard box for Cunha who makes an awful contact on the ball which spoons wide of the goal.
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Source: Euro Sports