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AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle: Nick Pope is the hero as Eddie Howe’s males battle to a hard-fought level on the San Siro on their Champions League return Specific Instances

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Newcastle will play higher than this in Europe this season and lose. Their first Champions League sport for twenty years, it was at instances a bewildering and vaguely traumatic expertise. 

Goalkeeper Nick Pope was Eddie Howe’s finest participant by a ways. There have been few different contenders on a night after they had been overrun and outplayed by AC Milan. 

However someway Newcastle didn’t lose. They didn’t succumb to the waves of purple and black. And so, unusually, their Champions League voyage has begun with a beneficial away level and one thing on which they will construct.

This was by no means going to be simple. An evening of real significance for Newcastle, it befell in considered one of European soccer’s real cathedrals. Milan could not have a stellar group as of late. Serie A shouldn’t be the high-end setting it was as soon as was. However it’s nonetheless the San Siro. It nonetheless means one thing. 

So this was an evening that had ‘problem’ written throughout it for Newcastle. We simply anticipated them to be slightly higher than this, that’s all. Certainly when Dan Burn performed a easy go straight out of play with two minutes left, the house supporters howled their derision.

Nick Pope was Newcastle’s finest participant as he made save after save on a pressurised night

Sandro Tonali endured a difficult night on his return to Milan and was subbed off early

Sandro Tonali endured a tough night time on his return to Milan and was subbed off early 

Actually, this was not the Newcastle we all know. This was not the entrance foot, energetic aspect that Howe has offered to the Premier League. Right here they had been error-strewn and self-harming. 

They didn’t lack effort or dedication they usually had been nonetheless throwing our bodies in to the way in which of pictures on the dying. Equally they didn’t look notably properly organised and appeared to have travelled with out a lot of an attacking plan. 

To that finish they didn’t handle a shot on the right track all night time till Sean Longstaff nearly wrote essentially the most surprising pay-off line of all time with a shot that was touched over by Milan goalkeeper Marco Sportiello deep in to added time.

Sandro Tonali – a Milan participant till the summer season – had a very dangerous night time as Milan midfielders ran off and previous him for the 72 minutes that Howe allowed him to have on the sphere. 

He was applauded off the sphere when he was substituted however a lot of that was coming from the house followers. They don’t neglect good gamers right here and considered one of them, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was sitting within the stands. Ibrahimovic would have fancied his possibilities right here and he’s 41 now.

For Newcastle the primary half was an entirely terrifying expertise. The one factor going for it was that it didn’t include any objectives. Having waited so lengthy to be again on this stage, Newcastle appeared underprepared and overwhelmed. At instances it was fairly one thing to behold.

Milan – overwhelmed right here 5-1 by their neighbours Inter on the weekend – reached a Champions League semi-final final season however are removed from the strongest group in Europe. Certainly they’re a way from the extent they as soon as occupied.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a powerful presence in the centre of the park for the hosts

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a strong presence within the centre of the park for the hosts 

Tommaso Pobega forced a good save from Nick Pope early on - the first of many in the match

Tommaso Pobega compelled save from Nick Pope early on – the primary of many within the match

But right here they appeared like world beaters, flooding forwards at will. Within the centre of the Newcastle midfield, Tonali was drowning. At one level, having seen Milan’s former Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek surge previous him and shoot over, he turned to Howe as thought to recommend the Newcastle again 4 wanted to do his job for him. They didn’t.

Within the Newcastle objective, Pope was busy. He made seven saves within the first half and that tally embody 5 in a busy six-minute spell across the quarter hour mark.

Newcastle, backed by 4,000 supporters packed excessive on the highest tier behind the objective they had been defending, had been okay for the primary ten minutes or so. It was a nothing sport for some time.

However as soon as Milan discovered a gear, Newcastle actually started to battle. Howe’s group couldn’t cease the overloads and the overlaps. They may not plug the massive holes in their very own midfield. Occasionally, they couldn’t appear to do even essentially the most primary out of possession work.

Milan’s left-sided midfielder Tommaso Pobega was first to work Pope, driving low from distance within the thirteenth minute. When the ball was returned, Pope touched a header from Samu Chukwueze over the bar.

Olivier Giroud was a thorn in the side of Newcastle throughout the evening but they did well to contain him

Olivier Giroud was a thorn within the aspect of Newcastle all through the night however they did properly to include him 

Newcastle were backed by a passionate section of fans in one of football's cathedrals (photograph taken before the match)

Newcastle had been backed by a passionate part of followers in considered one of soccer’s cathedrals ({photograph} taken earlier than the match)

Former Chelsea and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud then sought to revenue from some penalty field pinball just for Pope to smother. As a way of chaos started to be felt within the Newcastle penalty space, captain Kieran Trippier appealed for calm however it was in useless. A Loftus-Cheek header on the far put up nearly teed up Pobega earlier than Rade Krunic shot from 25 yards and as soon as Pope eased the ball excessive.

From this nook – nonetheless with solely 18 minutes gone – left-back Theo Hernandez actually ought to have scored. This could have been the second that Newcastle had been served some actual punishment. 

He was completely unmarked as he headed for objective from 10 yards however because the ball bounced down and up off the turf it was nearly shut sufficient for the goalkeeper to someway divert it up and over the bar as soon as once more. It was response save from Pope. Equally, had the ball arrived a yard both aspect – because it ought to have performed – then Milan would certainly have been within the lead.

Newcastle’s forays on the different finish had been restricted. Alexander Isak often dropped deep seeking possession whereas on the left Anthony Gordon appeared as if he had it in him to fret Milan captain Davide Calabria. Getting sufficient possession was one other factor totally, nevertheless.

Howe’s group appealed for a penalty when Longstaff went down underneath the gentlest of strain however quickly they had been nearly undone on the different finish as soon as once more. 

Youngster Elliot Anderson was afforded an opportunity off the bench at the San Siro

Teen Elliot Anderson was afforded a chance off the bench on the San Siro

Milan substitutes such as Alessandro Florenzi made a difference in a combative match

Milan substitutes akin to Alessandro Florenzi made a distinction in a combative match 

Giroud could have performed higher than direct a low Hernandez cross vast of the close to put up earlier than the eminently watchable ahead Rafael Leao eased diagonally throughout the sphere left to proper solely to fall over his personal ft when trying to backheel the ball in the direction of objective from seven yards. 

It could have been an outrageous end and perhaps on reflection one thing extra standard would have performed it. Pobega adopted up on the unfastened ball, in the meantime, and his shot was cleared off the road by Jacob Murphy.

For Howe and his gamers, the second half was much less dispiriting. Milan misplaced slightly of their vitality and with it their risk because the night time wore on. However, they had been nonetheless the dominant drive and nonetheless had additional possibilities to win the sport.

Substitute Tijjani Reijnders – on for Pobega on the hour – ran straight by way of the center of the Newcastle defence quickly after getting into the sphere and introduced a low save from Pope. In fact, the shot didn’t match the incisiveness of the run. Then, ten minutes later, one other substitute, Alessandro Florenzi, crossed superbly as he superior from right-back and Rafael Leao’s diving header directed the ball half a foot over the angle of far put up and cross bar. That will have been some objective.

The sport was not being performed at such a frantic tempo because it entered its last third and that suited Newcastle. Milan’s vitality had been electrifying at instances within the opening interval however slowly they began to resemble a group that wanted a objective to actually get them going once more.

Howe made some adjustments of his personal on a scorching early night. Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson and younger Elliot Anderson all got here on to attempt to assist Newcastle within the opponents’ half. Nonetheless, although, the territory belonged to Milan. That was one thing that hadn’t modified all night time.

The statistics underlined the house group’s superiority. Pope had been Newcastle’s busiest participant whereas Howe’s group by no means threatened.

Two Newcastle defensive blocks had been required in succession with ten minutes to go. As soon as once more the hopes of the house supporters started to boost. Then, with simply 4 minutes left, Longstaff denied Christian Pulisic with one other flying block. Newcastle, as they clung to their level, couldn’t be faulted for dedication.

FACT BOX TITLE

AC MILAN: (4-3-3) Maignan 6 (Sportiello 80mins 6); Calabria 6 (Florenzi 45mins 6.5), Thiaw 6, Tomori 7, Hernandez 6.5; Loftus-Cheek 6.5 (Musah 71mins 6), Krunic 6, Pobega 6.5 (Reijnders 60mins 6.5); Chukwueze 6.5 (Pulisic 60mins 6), Giroud 6, Rafael Leao 7

BOOKED: Calabria, Reijnders, Giroud

STEFANO PIOLI: 7

NEWCASTLE UNITED: (4-3-3) Pope 8.5; Trippier 6, Schar 6, Botman 6, Burn 5.5; Longstaff 6, Bruno 5.5, Tonali 5 (Anderson 72mins 6); Murphy 6 (Wilson 62mins 6), Isak 6 (Barnes 90mins 6), Gordon 6 (Almiron 62mins 5.5).

BOOKED: Schar

EDDIE HOWE: 5.5

REFEREE: Jose Maria Sanchez (ESP) 6

 


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