Real Madrid visited Milan’s San Siro stadium to somehow make their record versus 7 times UEFA Champions League winners a little better. The last time we played there was only a year back when the game ended in a 1-1 draw with Benzema being the goal scorer. This time around it ended 2-2 but there was a lot more excitement and a lot more chances from us. To be honest, we deserved to win but let’s content ourselves that we got one point from it which helped us progress to the next stage.
We completely dominated the first half in terms of possession and had plenty of chances on goal. We could have and should have been a few goals to the good in the first half itself, which would have meant the game would have been out of reach for Milan in the first half itself. Sadly, we didn’t capitalise on the chances that came to us. One clear chance came to us when Pirlo cleared two great shots off the line which only resulted in a corner at the end.
The goal did arrive however in the closing stages of the half when Angel di Maria played a very clever disguised pass to Higuain who was onside to put the ball past Abiati to make it 1-0 to Real Madrid.
Real started the second half in the same fashion they ended the first. Attacking play continued but as time progressed they took the foot off the gas. The passes penetrated less and was more of rolling the ball around and not going for the kill. And that’s when Allegri brought on Inzaghi for Ronaldinho, a strange substitution in respect that Robinho was there on the bench too. As luck would have it (bad luck!) Inzaghi scored within minutes of coming on after Pepe attempted to clear the ball but slipped. Ibrahimovich was on hand to cross the ball into the box which Casillas totally misread and the great goal poacher that Inzaghi is, he headed in the ball. Milan 1-1 Real Madrid in the 68th minute.
From looking like cruising and maybe killing Milan we were now drawn. The things got even worse. In the 78th minute, Inzaghi slotted the ball home in front of an on charging Casillas, something Iker wasn’t even required to. What made it worse? Inzaghi was clearly a yard offside. Referee’s assistant however failed to spot that and it was now Milan 2-1 Real Madrid .
In the closing stages of the game, Pedro Leon who came on as a substitute scored his first goal as a Madridista. Benzema was the passer which helped us salvage one point from the game.
– Attacking play yet again was a huge positive. We were dominant in terms of possession, chances created and shots on target too. Like I mentioned we had plenty of chances to put the game beyond Milan but we didn’t make most of those chances.
– Benzema’s involvement yet again proved crucial. He was needed when we played Hercules and he supplied two passes for Ronaldo to score from. This time around, he turned provider for Pedro Leon to get us the pivotal goal.
– We progress to the next stage with four games played. 10 points from four games and we’re through. Sounds good to me.
– Like Jose said in his after game interview, the team learnt from its mistakes and developed itself. We went down versus Hercules for the first time this season and this time around we did so in Europe. In both occasions we got ourselves out of the mess and get a reasonable result. (anything but a loss is a reasonable result)
– The team didn’t kill off the game when they should have. We paid for the mistake of being too relaxed about how things were going at 1-0 especially in the second half. And that’s when Milan took advantage and hit us with two goals.
– Defence shoddy at times : Defence was not the high quality we’ve become accustomed to in La Liga and previous Champions League games. It was patchy during places and mostly in the second half. Thankfully Milanese attack wasn’t on hand to take advantage of this.
P.S. I have left the discussion of Inzaghi being offside and the condition of pitch aside on purpose.
What did you make of the game? Now with progress to the next stage a certainty now, would you have any changes in the squad or the first team for the remaining 2 games?