The Champions League campaign kicked off with Newcastle United’s return to the tournament after around 20 years to face seven-time winners AC Milan.
The pair were drawn into the proverbial group of death alongside Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund.
AC Milan’s Rafael Leao had the first shot to test Nick Pope ahead of a busy day.
The Rossoneri started fashioning chances as Tomasso Pobega struck a fine shot from distance that forced Pope into a sprawling save.
In the same sequence, Pope had to save a Samuel Chukwueze header from close range.
Pope then had to be sharp to keep out Olivier Giroud’s header after he won the luck of the bounce.
The England international keeper saved Theo Hernandez’s well-cushioned header from a set-piece in a busy opening 20 minutes as Milan dominated early proceedings.
Sean Longstaff went down in the Milan box under minimal contact from Leao, but the referee gave nothing, and the Italians countered.
Leao raced down the left flank and crossed, but Giroud put his effort wide from close range.
The Milan assault continued, and Leao should have scored but took too long on the ball, allowing Newcastle’s defence to clear Rade Krunic’s effort off the goal line.
Milan had another excellent chance as Chukwueze found Leao, who looped a dangerous ball back into the box. Giroud was put off from an acrobatic attempt, and Chukwueze headed the ball over.
Newcastle had their first sight of goal in the 40th minute, but it was from quite a distance and didn’t trouble Mike Maignan. The first half ended goalless.
The Magpies tried to step things up after the break, but the Milan defence kept them at bay.
Tijjani Reijnders came on as a substitute and forced Pope into a save. The Dutchman could have done better with his effort as the Rossoneri continued to pry and probe.
Milan manager Stefano Pioli asked Leao to improve his heading months ago, but his words appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
A swooping cross from Alessandro Florenzi found the Portugal attacker, but his header sailed over from an excellent position.
A late shot from Bruno Guimaraes from distance was the best Newcastle had to offer, but Marco Sportiello tipped it over the bar. It ended 0-0 at the San Siro as the Magpies collected a vital point.
AC Milan vs Newcastle Player Ratings
Mike Maignan (6/10) – He did not have much to deal with when he was on, but his distribution was stellar as always. Went down on 80, leaving Milan fans with their hearts in their mouth.
Davide Calabria (5.5/10) – He locked down Anthony Gordon but earned a silly yellow that forced his coach to take him off at half-time.
Fikayo Tomori (7.5/10) – He was solid up against Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson later on. His distribution was also great.
Malick Thiaw (7/10) – The German is a bullish defender and held his own today. He was also superb at bringing the ball out from the back.
Theo Hernandez (6.5/10) – The Milan captain was bombing up and down the left flank with reckless abandon but could not find the perfect touch in the final third.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (7/10) – The former Chelsea midfielder looked bright and sprightly when he was on, but his execution in the final third let him down. He has been one of the best parts of their season.
Rade Krunic (7/10) – Krunic ran himself into the ground, shuttling to win the ball back and keep it moving. He also showed the danger he possesses when he gets in front.
Tomasso Pobega (6/10) – He struggled to take hold in the match despite his side controlling the game. He came off at half-time after a surprise start.
Samuel Chukwueze (7/10) – His decision-making in the final third could have been better, but he was electric. Every time the ball got to him, he was lively to it and looking to create something.
Rafael Leao (7/10) – He is clearly a special talent but is guilty of trying to be too cute in the final third. He found joy down his flank and dangerous, but nothing materialised as he missed two of Milan’s best chances.
Olivier Giroud (6/10) – With his wide men in terrific form and looking lively, he could have done better with the chances he got to earn his side the crucial points. Newcastle’s defence managed to constantly put him off.
Alessandro Florenzi (7/10)
Christian Pulisic (6.5/10)
Tijjani Reijnders (6/10)
Yunus Musah (6/10)
Marco Sportiello (N/A)
Nick Pope (8.5/10) MOTM – Made several crucial saves to keep his side in this tie when Milan threatened to blow them away in the opening moments.
Kieran Trippier (5.5/10) – There was no chance of him keeping up with Leao, and the attacker torched him down his flank a few times. He threatened Milan with his set-piece deliveries.
Fabian Schar (7/10) – He delivered a stellar showing against a barrage of Milan attacks. He held his own against Giroud and helped to marshall the Frenchman.
Sven Botman (7/10) – Like his defensive partner, he was very solid up against the experienced Giroud. He helped to keep the former Chelsea striker at bay. The centre-back continues his incredible form.
Dan Burn (5/10) – Up against the frightening Chukwueze, the Nigerian international burnt him a few times. He was constantly pinned back and defending.
Bruno Guimaraes (7.5/10) – The Brazilian covered so much ground today trying to protect his backline. He was constantly pressing and fighting to win the ball back for his side.
Sean Longstaff (6/10) – Another who did plenty of the fighting work in the centre but ultimately spent most of the tie chasing the game.
Sandro Tonali (7/10) – He had a superb game upon his return to his old stomping grounds, popping up everywhere to win possession and move the ball forward.
Jacob Murphy (5/10) – He tried his best and ran a lot for his team but couldn’t make much happen. He had to work hard to track back against Leao.
Alexander Isak (5/10) – The Swedish international struggled without much help in attack. He moved to the left flank and still couldn’t get going.
Anthony Gordon (6/10) – The young Englishman fought hard down his flank but didn’t get any joy off Calabria and Florenzi. He helped defensively against Chukwueze.
Miguel Almiron (N/A)
Harvey Barnes (N/A)
Callum Wilson (6/10)
Elliot Anderson (N/A)
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