AC Milan blow Champions League Group F wide open with win over PSG

By Sports Desk November 07, 2023

AC Milan ended their goal drought to keep their Champions League hopes alive after a comeback win over Paris St Germain.

Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud scored their first European goals of the season to secure a 2-1 victory at San Siro.

Milan Skriniar’s header had given the visitors the lead but PSG are now just a point ahead of third-placed Milan in Group F.

Newcastle’s 2-0 defeat at leaders Borussia Dortmund earlier on Tuesday gave the hosts, who started the night bottom, a glimmer of hope.

They are only two points adrift of Dortmund with the group still wide open after four games.

Milan, who reached the semi-finals last season, came into the game with one win in their last six in all competitions and it looked like it was going to be another long night after nine minutes.

Former Inter Milan defender Skriniar was the villain when he drifted off Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shoulder to head in from four yards after Marquinhos had glanced a corner across goal.

Yet two minutes later the hosts were level following a fine piece of improvisation from Leao.

The Portugal international streaked through midfield to feed Giroud, who was denied by a smart save from Gianluigi Donnarumma. The ball looped in the air and Leao adjusted himself to hook an overhead kick in from six yards.

Achraf Hakimi dragged wide as a quick tempo continued but Milan grew in confidence, even if Ousmane Dembele struck the crossbar for PSG after 27 minutes.

Fikayo Tomori’s free-kick had former Milan keeper Donnarumma, who was forced to remove fake bank notes from his area after the home fans threw them onto the pitch in protest at his departure in 2021, scrambling and Leao dragged wide with nine minutes to go before the break.

Mike Maignan dealt with tame efforts from Dembele and Vitinha in first-half stoppage time and, five minutes after the restart, Milan grabbed the winner.

Leao and Hakimi went down after challenging each other at the far post and the PSG defence went to sleep expecting a whistle.

By the time Theo Hernandez swung in a cross they were struggling to regroup and Giroud powered in a six-yard header.

Donnarumma’s fingertip save turned Hernandez’s free kick wide soon after but PSG, with Kylian Mbappe well shackled, rallied late and could have grabbed a point with two minutes left.

Substitute Kang-In Lee cut in from the right but his low strike hit the outside of the post.

Related items

  • Emma Hayes: Chelsea not overthinking semi-final against ‘world-class’ Barcelona Emma Hayes: Chelsea not overthinking semi-final against ‘world-class’ Barcelona

    Emma Hayes insists Chelsea have not overanalysed “world-class” Barcelona ahead of their Champions League clash on Saturday.

    Chelsea have travelled to Catalonia for the first leg of their semi-final 12 months on from the two clubs meeting at the same stage of the competition.

    Barcelona prevailed 2-1 on aggregate on that occasion before overcoming Wolfsburg in Eindhoven to lift the trophy for the second time in three years.

    Chelsea boss Hayes, speaking ahead ahead of this weekend’s first leg at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, said: “Barcelona have been the top team in Europe in recent years.

    “Results have suggested that, they are world champions and European champions, but this is a football match and there’s two legs.

    “Our job is to get ourselves in a position where we can come here and give them competition.

    “You have to be in it to compete for it and you know that you’re going to face a team like Barcelona at some stage, and it happens to be at the semi-finals.

    “We understand the team, we understand the opponent, and we respect them. They are world class and have unbelievable players.

    “We’ve had a game Wednesday and we’ve only had the one training session today (Friday) so we’re not overthinking or overanalysing anything.”

    Chelsea have never won the Women’s Champions League with their best performance being a final appearance in 2021 when Barcelona thrashed them 4-0.

    Arsenal are the only English club to win the trophy, a distant 17 years ago in 2007.

    “We just have to keep building on our experiences in Europe,” said Hayes. “No player needs motivation to play this game.

    “Next week we get a little more time together on the grass to work on things between the two games, based on the learnings.

    “For this game we have to keep doing the good things that we’ve been doing throughout Europe this year.”

    Chelsea have received a double boost with England pair Millie Bright and Lauren James available for selection.

    Club captain Bright has not played since November because of a knee injury, while James sat out Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Women’s Super League.

    Hayes said: “I always come from a tactical perspective, first and foremost, from what the needs are for that game.

    “Of course, when you play three games directly after an international break, within a seven-day period, you have to utilise the squad.

    “We certainly know that no matter the team we put out, we’re highly competitive and Wednesday demonstrated that. So many players came in and added much-needed energy.

    “It’s not just the personnel, it’s about structures.

    “When you’re playing against an opponent who’s going to have over 70 per cent of the ball, they’re going to have control of the ball and the game in that regard, how you defend spaces is important.”

    Chelsea have confirmed the departure of Germany goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger to NJ/NY Gotham FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

    Berger, 33, made 114 appearances in five years at Chelsea and leaves the club having won four WSL titles, three FA Cups, two Conti Cups, one Community Shield and a Golden Glove.

  • Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton Man Utd appoint Jason Wilcox as new technical director after leaving Southampton

    Jason Wilcox has left Southampton to become Manchester United’s new technical director with immediate effect.

    The 53-year-old becomes a key appointment at Old Trafford as part of United’s off-field overhaul following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s arrival at the club.

    Wilcox joined Championship side Southampton last summer as their director of football, making the switch from Manchester City where he developed a reputation for nurturing excellent young talent as well as recruiting some of the best prospects in the game.

    A United statement read: “Jason Wilcox has joined Manchester United as technical director with immediate effect.

    “He will work with all technical areas of the football department to achieve the highest standards of performance.

    “Jason was previously director of football at Southampton and before that academy director at Manchester City.

    “As a player he won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1995.”

    A Saints statement read: “Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has reluctantly agreed to allow director of football Jason Wilcox to join Manchester United, having reached an agreement with the Premier League side on an acceptable compensation fee.

    “Whilst the club is naturally disappointed that Jason’s stay at Southampton has only lasted nine months, it wishes him well for the future.”

    John Murtough stepped down as football director at Old Trafford last week.

    United are looking to add Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth to their staff as Ratcliffe continues his off-field rebuild after taking a 27.7 per cent stake in the club.

    Wilcox will report to the sporting director, who will have overall responsibility for football performance, recruitment and operations.

    The PA news agency understands Darren Fletcher will continue to play a key role in the football leadership team working across the men’s first team and academy.

  • Maya Le Tissier signs new deal with Manchester United Maya Le Tissier signs new deal with Manchester United

    England defender Maya Le Tissier has signed a new contract extension at Manchester United.

    The centre-back joined United from Women’s Super League rivals Brighton in July 2022 and has gone on to make 59 appearances.

    Her existing contract was due to expire next year but she has pledged her future to United, with the length of the deal not disclosed.

    “I’m really happy to sign a contract extension with this great club and look forward to ending the season strong, while continuing to build for the future,” the 22-year-old said on www.manutd.com.

    “A big thank you to all our fantastic fans for their great support since I joined, and I’m excited for many more winning moments together.”

    Le Tissier, capped three times by England, was an ever-present last season as United reached a maiden FA Cup final and finished second in the WSL to qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

    She has not missed a game in any competition this season and was last week instrumental in repelling Chelsea as United claimed a shock win to reach the FA Cup final for the second successive campaign.

    “Maya has become a real fixture of our team,” United head coach Marc Skinner said. “For her to be playing every single minute like she has, is testament to her.

    “We want to make Maya a key feature of our team for many years to come. Maya’s a leader and everybody at the club should be proud that she’s decided to sign for us long term.

    “She has the right mentality and the right attitude – and is a perfect role model for the next generation. We look forward to working with her for many winning years to come.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.