Tottenham Hotspur came into the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against AC Milan this evening desperate for a win.
The Premier League club lost the first leg in Italy. A lone Brahim Diaz goal was enough to secure the advantage for the Serie A side.
Milan knew they had to produce a remarkable performance to see the tie start through. They had not won in England since 2005 and lost unconvincingly to Fiorentina in their last game.
Spurs had lost back-to-back matches against Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers but were eager to give their fans a lift.
The game started ten minutes late as both teams arrived late due to traffic. Milan struggled to control the game early on, but gradually found their feet.
The first opening came in the 18th minute when Milan worked a brilliant corner routine, but Junior Messias’ shot skewed wide.
Spurs came close when a Harry Kane shot nearly wrong-footed Mike Maignan, but he recovered to get the ball away.
It was a cagey affair as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances and they went in level at the break.
Despite Spurs looking brighter in the second half, Milan created the first chance when Brahim Diaz bundled himself into a 1v1 situation, but Fraser Forster made a sharp save.
Tottenham began to show intent, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg tested Maignan’s awareness with a snap-shot from a tight angle.
The game was opening up, and Theo Hernandez combined with Rafael Leao to tee up Diaz, but Spurs crowded the Spaniard out when he hesitated.
Cristian Romero received a yellow card early on, but you wouldn’t know it by how he went in for a reckless challenge on Milan captain Hernandez in the 78th minute.
He was red carded and Tottenham’s hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals went up in smoke.
Leao was garnering confidence and set up Sandro Tonali in a good position. But the Italian midfielder failed to find the back of the net, shooting when he should have passed.
Kane headed a brilliant free-kick on target in the dying minutes, but Maignan made a terrific save. On the counter-attack, Divock Origi hit the post.
Milan saw the game out comfortably with their back three marshalling everything in front of them. For the first time in 11 years, Milan reached the final eight of the Champions League.
Tottenham Hotspur vs AC Milan: Match Ratings
Fraser Forster (7/10) – Made some crucial saves to keep his side in the game. He looked assured all night.
Emerson Royal (6/10) – Huffed and puffed but could not deliver the end product from the right and left flank.
Cristian Romero (2/10) – The Argentine looked like a walking danger all game and predictably got what he deserved. He got his first yellow card early on. He then lost his head in a needless challenge against Hernandez and got a second yellow.
Clement Lenglet (6.5/10) – Helped marshall Giroud and did that well. Also, he distributed the ball well.
Ben Davies (6.5/10) – Equally decent and helped to keep Giroud quiet.
Ivan Perisic (5.5/10) – Poor and ineffective today. He struggled to impact the game, going off on 50.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (6.5/10) – Influenced proceedings from the middle but did not create much. The Dane could not impose his side on the game.
Oliver Skipp (6.5/10) – The youngster kept things ticking and broke up attacks.
Dejan Kulusevski (6/10) – Worked hard to make things happen but could not deliver the final ball his side needed.
Harry Kane (6.5/10) – The striker had a decent game based on the service he received. The chance in the dying minute was the only opportunity he got, and he did his best with it.
Son Heung-Min (5/10) – The South Korean was disappointing again and had an outing to forget.
Pedro Porro (6.5/10) – He looked bright and helped push Theo Hernandez back but he did not offer much else.
Richarlison (5/10) – Huffed and puffed and irritated Milan’s backline without doing much with the ball.
Davinson Sanchez (N/A)
Mike Maignan (8/10) – Controls his box better than most keepers around. The Frenchman made two good saves to deny Tottenham a goal.
Pierre Kalulu (7/10) – Helped keep Son quiet, and the South Korean was very quiet.
Malick Thiaw (7.5/10) – Another superb performance and a clean sheet for the German titan. He was solid against Kulusevski and Kane.
Fikayo Tomori (7/10) – His duty was to handle Kane, and he did it well. The Englishman deserved the clean sheet for his efforts.
Theo Hernandez (7.5/10) – Got forward with precision and defended vehemently. It was a solid performance from the Milan skipper.
Rade Krunic (6/10) – Milan’s hardman in midfield helped break up attacks but failed to control or settle the game.
Sandro Tonali (5.5/10) – He also struggled to give Milan a foothold in the middle and squandered a great chance when a pass was his best option.
Brahim Diaz (8.5/10) – MOTM – The former Manchester City man scored the only goal in the first leg and was the best player today. He was dancing through tackles to advance the ball for Milan. Also, he got into some dangerous positions.
Junior Messias (6/10) – The Brazilian looked bright but did not have the execution to make things happen.
Rafael Leao (7/10) – Royal pinned him at first, but as the game wore on, he began to float through Spurs’ defence, creating problems for them.
Olivier Giroud (5.5/10) – The former Arsenal striker struggled to hold the ball well and did not create space for himself to do damage.
Alexis Saelemaekers (6/10) – Worked hard and ran around, mainly covering the right flank but didn’t get forward enough.
Divock Origi (7/10) – He looked bright when he came on and struck the woodwork in the game’s last chance. Positive showing.
Ismael Bennacer (7/10) – Exerted more control in the middle for Milan, allowing them to sustain possession and manage the game.
Ante Rebic (N/A)
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