Milan sink Atletico to maintain Champions League hopes

MADRID: A stunning header from substitute Junior Messias in the dying minutes gave AC Milan a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid and kept their Champions League qualifying hopes alive on Wednesday.

Milan arrived at Madrid at the bottom of Group B with just one point and anything but a win over Atletico would have knocked them out of this season’s competition.

Wednesday’s result means the race to see who joins group winners Liverpool in the next round will be on the wire. Porto, who have five points, as well as Milan and Atletico, who are tied with four points, will have to wait until the last round to decide who will finish second and advance to the round of 16.

Milan will host Liverpool while Atletico travel to Porto on December 10. 7 for the last matches of Group B.

On a frosty night in Madrid, a compact crowd at the Metropolitano stadium failed to boost Atletico, who struggled to make an impact against a Milan side who displayed urgency and aggressiveness.

Brazilian Messias, who had a remarkable career working as a delivery driver and playing amateur football before slowly rising through the ranks, broke the deadlock in the 87th minute with a spectacular header after hanging on to a cross Perfect from Franck Kessie.

“They studied us very well and our game plan didn’t work out,” Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann told reporters.

“The Champions League is very difficult and Milan were superior in all aspects. You have to work, get better … “

Milan controlled the game from the start, despite manager Stefano Pioli’s surprise when he threw Zlatan Ibrahimovic off the bench after scoring two goals against Fiorentina on Saturday.

The Swedish striker came on in the second half and almost scored a second goal in stoppage time, unsuccessfully requesting a penalty after being caught by goalkeeper Jan Oblak as he was about to shoot.

Atletico will end the group stage without winning any of their three home games, having lost to Milan and Liverpool and drawn with Porto.

“The Champions League is no forgiveness,” Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone said.

“You only cross when you deserve it. “-Reuters

Add a Comment