Champions League, Milan pushes but doesn’t pass: 0-0 with Newcastle. Injuries for Loftus-Check and Maignan

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By John

Milan-Newcastle 0-0

Milan (4-3-3): Maignan 6 (36’st Sportiello 6.5); Calabria 6 (1’st Florenzi 6.5), Thiaw 6.5, Tomori 7, Hernandez 6; Loftus-Cheek 6.5 (27’st Musah 6), Krunic 6, Pobega 6 (16’st Reijnders 6); Chukwueze 5.5 (16’st Pulisic 6), Giroud 5.5, Leao 5. On the bench: Mirante, Kjaer, Bartesaghi, Adli, Jovic, Okafor. Coach: Pioli 6
Newcastle (4-3-3): Pope 6.5; Trippier 7, Schar 6, Botman 6, Burn 6; Longstaff 6, Bruno Guimaraes 5.5, Tonali 5 (27’st Anderson sv); Murphy 6 (18’st Almiron 5.5), Isak 5 (46’st Barnes sv), Gordon 5.5 (18’st Wilson 5.5). On the bench: Karius, Harris, Dummett, Lascelles, Targett, Hall, Livramento, Miley. Coach: Howe 5.5.
Referee: Sanchez Martinez (Esp)
Note: clear skies, pitch in good condition. Booked: Calabria, Schar, Musah, Giroud, Krunic. Corners 6-1 for Milan. Recovery: 0′; 5′.

Milan’s seasonal debut in Europe ends goalless against former Sandro Tonali’s Newcastle, welcomed with chants and applause from his old fans. A draw that is close to Pioli’s team, dangerous on more than one occasion, especially at the start. The first opportunity arrives in the 13th minute and it is for the home team, who start well. Pobega goes for a shot from distance, but Pope dives away. On the rebound, Leao crossed from the left towards the head of Chukwueze, who however finished on the goalkeeper. A minute later, Calabria plays from the right with the ball landing at Giroud’s feet after a rebound. The Frenchman tries but Pope saves an exit and saves for a corner. The goalkeeper did it again in the 18th minute with a shot from 25 meters by Krunic. A few moments later, Pope again neutralizes a gore from Hernandez following a corner taken by Krunic. A quarter of an hour later, Leao charges on the counterattack and serves Hernandez on the left who puts the ball at the near post with Giroud anticipating the direct marker but shooting out from a good position. The Rossoneri dominate and in the 34th minute a defender’s hand was needed to save Pobega’s right-footed shot on the line at the end of a very confusing move in which Leao, too coy, could have finished from a few steps in the first half. It will be the last emotion of the first half, which ends without a goal.
In the second half, the pace of the match drops noticeably. After a phase of great balance, Pioli’s men returned to danger in the 29th minute when Florenzi hit a cross from the right which Leao pounced on and headed just wide. The home team pressed again, but without creating any further problems for the English defence. In full recovery we see the guests for the first time, with the newly introduced Sportiello who lifts Longstaff’s powerful but central shot over the crossbar. The result will no longer change. If the performance was good overall, the bad notes for Milan instead come from injuries. Loftus-Check and Maignan actually left the pitch during the second half due to muscle problems. The Rossoneri will return to action in the Champions League on 4 October at Borussia Dortmund.