In France and Germany, all eyes were logically on this PSG – Bayern. But in Italy and England, football fans were entitled to a nice AC Milan – Tottenham. Two teams that have left some doubts in recent weeks in their respective championships, but we know that the anthem of the Champions League can transcend more than one… Stefano Pioli continued with his 3-4-2-1, with a few absences like Bennacer, but an eleven with his strong men like Tonali, Théo Hernandez, Giroud or Leão. Opposite, his compatriot Antonio Conte had to compose in particular without Hugo Lloris, replaced by Fraser Forster. But the Kulusevski-Son-Kane trio was there, and ready to hurt the transalpine rearguard. From the start, we felt that there was going to be a certain intensity and rhythm, and the opener was not long in coming.
Thiaw found Theo Hernandez well on the left side, and the Frenchman, in the box, hit hard with a rather tight angle. The Spurs goalkeeper pushed back, but Brahim Diaz came in force, to push her to the bottom. Forster got out somehow the first attempt of the Spaniard, but the ball fell on him and this time, the leather ended well at the bottom (1-0, 7th). Well in their match, the Lombards had to be wary, however. Of Harry Kane in particular. On a free kick, the English beat everyone, but his header was well captured by Tatarusanu (13th). The meeting was quite balanced. The hosts were going a lot on the left side where Hernandez was wandering around, while the Londoners had a lot of interesting set-piece situations that they didn’t really take advantage of. Tatarusanu was attentive on his line, and captured this distant attempt from Emerson (26th).
Not a great show…
As we progressed in this first round, the lines tightened, the rhythm fell and the meeting was marked by faults or interruptions. Not much to eat then, after a rather interesting start to the match. Tottenham certainly had the ball, but did not really manage to worry their evening rival, who suffered but did not suffer. On returning from the locker room, it was a fairly similar scenario that we were witnessing, and it was even Milan who began to dominate again at times. Leão was even starting to wake up after a low-key first act, as the Hernandez-Diaz duo hurt Spurs, who, once they got the ball back, ran out of ideas. The clock was ticking, and it was clearly the business of the Serie A team which was not really worried…
Antonio Conte was clearly impatient on his bench, and tried to give a new dynamic to his team with the entry into play of Richarlison 20 minutes from the end. The Brazilian was also dangerous quite quickly, but like his partners before him, he stumbled on a particularly imperial Thiaw (74th). We also felt annoyance on the side of the London players, who stumbled again and again on the Milan defense. The score has logically not moved, and even if AC Milan takes a good option for qualification in the quarter-finals of this Champions League, everything remains open for the return match in England on March 8.