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Milan v Real Madrid – as it happened
Paolo Bandini - 3 years ago

Welcome home, José And a very good evening to all of you reading this minute-by-minute report as well. José Mourinho is back in Milan and at the stadium he referred to as "casa mia" (my house) earlier this week. Presumably it's more of a holiday home these days, convenient for short breaks with family he doesn't really like all that much. You could lose an tiresome uncle for days in those giant concrete towers.

Anyway, Inter fans have been laying out the welcome mat (or at least the welcome banners) but in truth Mourinho only ever held a timeshare at San Siro. Inside the stadium the Milan fans have already been doling out the abuse, to which the Portuguese responded during his pre-match stroll with a grin and, to borrow the words of the Times's Patrick Barclay, "a two-fingered gesture". Perhaps he was just reminding them of the scoreline - 2-0 to Madrid - when these teams met in Spain a fortnight ago.

Team news: The man José Mourinho claims to fear most - Pippo Inzaghi - is on the bench but the man he once rated as the best in the world - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - starts up front alongside Alexandre Pato with Ronaldinho replacing Robinho in the No10 role. The centre-back Thiago Silva is also back in the side after injury. Madrid look to be at full strength, with the quite terrifying combination of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria supporting Gonzalo Higuaín up front.

AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati, Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Boateng, Pirlo, Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho. Subs: Amelia, Inzaghi, Seedorf, Ambrosini, Robinho, Yepes, Antonini.Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Alonso, Khedira, Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria, Higuain. Subs: Dudek, Mahamadou Diarra, Benzema, Granero, Arbeloa, Albiol, Pedro Leon.Referee: Howard Webb (England)

Previous meeting Rather than offer my own summary of what happened when these sides met at the Santiago Bernabéu, I shall hand over here to Sid Lowe. "Two minutes, two gifts, two goals," he wrote in his match report. "It was over before it had really begun."

Milan, clearly, need to avoid a repeat of that disastrous start but there is no escaping the fact that they will once again be pitting Gianluca Zambrotta's ever-more heavy legs directly against the toned and tanned pins of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese blew by his marker repeatedly during the first meeting. Has Massimiliano Allegri learnt his lesson, or will he - like Rafael Benítez pondering the Gareth Bale v Maicon dilemma - simply bury his head in the sand and hope it goes away?

It seems on paper at least that Mathieu Flamini might have offered a more energetic presence than Gennaro Gattuso to support Zambrotta from the left side of a narrow three-man midfield but the Frenchman is rarely granted a start these days when all others are healthy. At least this time Allegri does have his first-choice centre-back pairing - having both Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta available makes a big difference to this side.

A Special holiday This morning's Gazzetta dello Sport carries stories of Mourinho fans booking months ahead and paying hundreds of Euros to stay in the same hotel as the Real Madrid manager. This puts me in mind of the tales of fans paying just to take photographs of hotel toilets in rooms that David Beckham stayed in. Can anyone top that for (legal) stalking of their idols?

Missing Mathieu "Looking at your lineups, Flamini doesn't even appear to be among Milan's subs," notes the apparently surnameless Brian. "Has he not been called up for the match at all?" Indeed he hasn't Brian. He's not injured, as far as I'm aware, either.

1 min Ronaldinho does a little shimmy out on the left to fool Sergio Ramos but he has no intention of trying to go past the Madrid full-back, so he nudges the ball back to Gattuso instead. A cross comes over from the same side which Xabi Alonso slices wildly back towards his own goal but it's not travelling especially fast and plops gently into the hands of Casillas.

3 mins Ooh! Higuaín forces a tidy save from Abbiati - taking the ball in space on the left-corner of the Milan area before stepping back across Abate and trying to place the ball into the far corner. Abbiati saw it late but got down well to palm the ball around the post.

4 mins Madrid's corner is lumped away by Gattuso.

5 mins Madrid, to a hail of whistles are hoarding possession in front of the Milan box but when the ball is clipped into the area for Higuaín box he is denied by a sharp sliding tackle. Milan attempt to break but Pato knocks the ball too far ahead of himself and the ball runs through to Casillas.

6 mins Of course the real reason that the world is tuning in tonight is to see the legendary English referee Howard Webb strutting his stuff. José Mourinho says he's the best there is. Anyone else think he throws that term around a little too easily?

8 mins Ronaldinho floats a wonderful pass over the Madrid defence but Carvalho stretches out a Go-Go-Gadget leg to knock the ball away from Ibrahimovic. Important challenge, that.

9 mins My oh my. Xabi Alonso curls a free-kick over towards the back post from the left-hand side, where the entire Real Madrid team seem to have found space behind the Milan defence. Pepe rises to meet the cross but his downwards header skips off the turf and wide of the back post. Should have done better.

10 mins Now Milan race forward, with Pato squaring the ball neatly for Boateng by the penalty spot. The midfielder's first-time effort is on target but hasn't quite got enough pace on it and Casillas gets down to block.

11 mins Di Maria flashes a drive just wide of the Milan goal from outside the area.

12 mins What a chance for Madrid! Di Maria got in behind Zambrotta down the right, and the defender was all over him as he tried to track back - doing, it must be said, a sensational job of impeding the forward enough to slow him down but not enough to draw a foul. Di Maria, though, eventually left the defender on his backside with a neat dragback before sidestepping a desperate lunge from another defender attempting to track back - only to then crash his effort wide of the near post. Waste ...

14 mins Hmm, looks like someone in the home crowd has shown up with one of those irritating green lasers, and is currently pointing it at Mourinho's face. He looks nonplussed.

16 mins "I had thought the 'Champions League' was on tonight, but it looks like Silvio Berlusconi has scored the arrival of Real for some sort of testimonial," writes Lou Roper. "Can there be another explanation for the assembly of superannuated players (plus Pato and Boateng) in the home team? Is this supposed to be a stroll in the park at the old boys' home?" To be fair, Lou, this Milan team has a younger feel than some others in recent years - besides the two you mention, Thiago Silva and Abate are young and Ibra's hardly old.

18 mins Madrid win a free-kick about ten yards from the goalline and two hairs' breadth outside the Milan area on the left. Cristiano Ronaldo loses a good minute pondering his own good looks before suddenly remembering where he is and hurriedly crashing a shot into the nearest defender.

20 mins Andrea Pirlo to the rescue for Milan - twice heading the ball off the line with Abbiati stranded. It was Higuaín first whose header across goal had been heading for the corner, but after Pirlo initially nodded away it came straight back at him and he had to repeat his efforts. Clearly not struggling too much with the after-effects of the half-kilo of Neapolitan cheese I saw him stroll by with during a visit to Milan's training ground last week.

21 mins Cripes - from the corner Madrid hit the post! But the whistle had already gone for an apparent foul on Abbiati.

23 mins And now it's Milan's turn to miss a golden opportunity! Ibrahimovic is set free in the area and attempts to put his shot across Casillas but again he hasn't put enough on it. The keeper smothers.

CRISTIANO RONALDO IN PREPOSTEROUS PLAY-ACTING SHOCKER (25 mins) Oh dear, that really was pathetic. After dispossessing Ronaldo on the left Abate did follow through with with a forearm to the chest but the Portuguese had a good long angry look at the ref before deciding to hurl himself to the ground and roll absurdly back and forth for a good 30 seconds. After which, of course, he got up and started shouting at Webb. Credit to the ref, he handled it well - a talking to for both and no cards shown.

27 mins Ronaldinho drifts inside from the left and crashes an effort goalwards but it's charged down by a defender and Madrid clear.

28 mins First booking of the game goes to Boateng, and he fully deserves it for a heavy challenge on Di Maria near halfway.

29 mins Ronaldo does his best Michael Flatley impression on the left for Real, to which Gattuso responds with "Very Intense Crab", bending over double with wild eyes and arms outstretched as he stares insistently at the ball rather than the step-overs. Ronaldo eventually tries to move past but runs immediately into first Gattuso and then a second defender. Milan clear.

30 mins Ronaldinho attemps to free Pato with a delicate first-time pass into the area but his fellow Brazilian had checked his run and Cassillas gathers up the ball.

32 mins Higuaín dissects the Milan defence skilfully, slicing through the space between Nesta and Gattuso, before slipping onto his backside just as he was about to shoot.

34 mins Khedira decides to have a pop from near-on 30 yards out and his skiddy effort, which Abbiati opted to leave, is only just wide of the target.

35 mins This has been a really entertaining game so far. Milan's defence is just about holding together but looks as if it might fall apart at any moment, but while they have mostly been on the back foot they also look more than capable of giving Madrid trouble on the break.

IBRAHIMOVIC IS A BIG-GAME BOTTLER (37 mins) Or at least that's what a lot of people will (probably unreasonably) infer from the fact that he's just missed Milan's best chance of the match. Released into the area down the left-hand channel he floated a perfectly-weighted chip over Casillias but wide of the far post.

39 mins Abbiati very nearly adds another entry to the long list of Milan goalkeeping blunders, allowing a long-range effort to squirm out of his hands and bounce dangerously close to his own goalline, but the momentum in the end just about carries it wide of the goal.

41 mins "Is Abate a product of Milan's youth academy," asks John McLauchlin. "Frankly I'd forgotten they even had one." He certainly is John, though like most young players in Italy he's had to spend a good time out on loan at various sides before getting his chance in the first-team.

42 mins Speaking of Abate, he's just had a dose of Ronaldo's studs to the face. They were running together and the Milan full-back had fallen, so there was probably nothing intentional to it.

44 mins Pato has the ball in the Madrid net, but the flag had long been up for offside.

GOAL! Milan 0-1 Real Madrid (Higuaín, 45 mins) A fine goal at the perfect moment for Madrid, Di Maria selling the shot on the edge of the area - and prompting Milan's defenders to drop their runners as they sought to block - before slipping a wonderful side-footed pass in for Higuaín to crash past Abbiati.

45 mins (+1) We're getting two minutes of injury time, one of which has already gone.

Peepety-peeep! Mourinho scuttles off down the tunnel without waiting for the whistle, but he doesn't miss anything. Madrid lead deservedly at half-time after a chance in which they created plenty of chances. Milan are not to be counted out just yet, though - they fashioned one or two chances of their own going forwards and Ibrahimovic, in particular, might have put them ahead on a couple of occasions. Anyway, back shortly with half-time emails.

Legal stalking "Hotels used to cut up the sheets the Beatles slept on and sell the squares to manic little girls," writes Regan Fitzgerald in response to pre-game discussion of fans paying dear to stay in the same hotel as Mourinho. "But I suppose that doesn't beat paying to put your bum on the toilet in Beck's suite before it's been cleaned."

The Milan Old Folks' Home "OK, but still the likes of Zambrotta, Gattuso, Pirlo, and (yes) Ronaldinho constitute the core of the side (not to mention pensioners ambrosini, Seedorf and Pippo on the bench)," parps Lou Roper in response to the highlighting of some younger figures in the Milan line-up (16 mins). "Plus, Thiago Silva isn't really top-drawer is he?" I tend to disagree on Silva actually - he's by no means the finished article yet (and he certainly looks a lot ropier when he doesn't have Nesta next to him), but I think he's developing quite nicely. Good ball-playing centre-half with pace that is much needed in that team.

That is ... Quite the strangest car advert I've ever seen. Skoda seem to be implying that their engines are made of actual snakes.

46 mins Off we go again. Nesta takes a ragged touch with Higuaín right on his shoulder deep in the Milan half, but he recovers to smuggle it back to his keeper.

47 mins Ronaldo does that thing he does when he's not rolling on the floor or performing step-overs, looking up from a good 25 yards and unleashing a violent, dipping effort that was angling towards the top corner before Abbiati lurched across to push it behind for a corner at full stretch.

49 mins Madrid fail to achieve anything with the corner, win another one, then fail to do anything with that either, as Pirlo heads clear. A Pato handball prevents Milan from breaking.

50 mins Fantastic chance for Milan there Abate scampering free down the right before playing a fantastic square ball that is just about cut out by Pepe before it reaches Ibrahimovic at the back post. The ball is not cleared though, and sits invitingly in front of the Madrid goal eight yards out for what feels like an eternity as each of Ibrahimovic, Pato and Ronaldinho hesitate, seemingly waiting for each other to move, and allow Ramos to recover and hoof it away.

52 mins A win tonight, by the way, would not only ensure that Madrid progress, but that they finish top of the group. With Auxerre currently leading Ajax, if things stay as they are then Milan will stay level with the Dutch side on four points.

54 mins Ronaldo pummels a shot into the thighs of Abate 30-yards out on the right-hand side.

55 mins The sound of whistling continues to rise inside the stadium as Milan's supporters continue to lose patience with their team. A ball is played right across the home team's six-yard box from right to left but there's nobody there to meet it in the middle.

56 mins Abate picks up a yellow card for raking his studs down Ronaldo's calf. Then moments later he's putting the ball behind for a corner ...

57 mins ... Which is plucked out of the air confidently enough by Abbiati. Now Ibrahimovic picks up a yellow card for an entirely unnecessary foul near half-way.

59 mins Another Madrid corner, another useless delivery, the ball pumped over to the back post where Pepe can only get to it by clambering all over a defender. Milan win the free-kick.

60 mins Well, the man Mourinho claimed to fear most - Pippo Inzaghi - is coming on, but I have to say I'm very surprised that the man Milan have chosen to taken off is Ronaldinho. He's not had a great game by any stretch, but what point is there throwing a poacher on when in the last 10 minutes you haven't managed to get the ball anywhere near your front men anyway?

61 mins Inzaghi pulls his very best "oh, come off it" face after shoving over a Madrid player for no apparent reason off the ball. Webb generously declines to book him.

62 mins Milan work the ball across from left to right inside the Madrid half before Pato attempts to swing a cross over to Inzaghi from a very deep position. The ball is shepherded into Casillas's hands. It says a lot that that was probably Milan's best move for a good ten minutes.

63 minutes Abate is playing with fire here, holding Ronaldo back on halfway as Madrid attempt to spring an attack. Under normal circumstances that should be a yellow, and the full-back already has one, but Webb is clearly in a lenient mood.

65 mins "I'm just waiting for someone to maim Xabi Alonso (again) and Webb to give him a yellow for diving," says Regan Fitzgerald. "But is there anyone on Milan's team who can get their leg up that high?" I'd say the black-belt himself Ibrahimovic could, yes.

67 mins This game's gone a bit limp. Madrid showing Mourinho's influence with the way they have suffocated Milan since taking the lead?

GOAL! Milan 1-1 Real Madrid (Inzaghi, 68 mins) Erm, what was I saying. Pepe slips to give Ibrahimovic room to run into down the left and Casillas makes a complete hash of things as he attempts to anticipate the cross - dashing off his line only for the the striker to curl the ball in behind him. Casillas twists backwards but only succeeds in palming the ball up in the air, whereupon Inzaghi rushes in to do what he does best - nodding home from about two yards out.

69 mins That, right there, is precisely why Mourinho fears Inzaghi. No matter how old, how slow, how often he is offside, he still just knows how to find himself in those positions when it matters.

70 mins Gattuso goes into the book for a crude two-footed challenge on Marcelo. He's claiming that the Madrid player dived - and in fairness replays do suggest Marcelo may have jumped over the tackle, but with a challenge that reckless the intent alone is deserving of the yellow.

72 mins Alexandre Pato - not at his best tonight - is coming off for Milan, to be replaced by Massimo Ambrosini. Allegri may be settling for a draw. Given the way the game's gone, you couldn't blame him.

73 mins And now a like-for-like change up front for Madrid, with Higuaín replaced by Karim Benzema.

75 mins "Good to see the observer proven wrong so soon after having named Casillas best keeper in the world," tweets @Nevvvvvb. But one mistake does not a bad keeper make. And I don't think they were the only ones to proclaim him as such ...

76 mins Pirlo swings an inviting ball across the back of Madrid's defence from a free-kick on the left, but Pepe does very well to control the ball and clear whilst facing the goal with attackers rushing in behind.

GOAL! Milan 2-1 Real Madrid (Inzaghi 78 mins) Un-be-lievable. Inzaghi was treading a very fine line with the offside trap (read: he was off) as he lingered on Marcelo's shoulder on the right-hand side, but the flag stayed down as he raced onto Gattuso's chip forward and calm as anything slotted the ball past Casillas.

79 mins OK, so that probably shouldn't have stood, but again - would you want anyone else in that position with the ball at his feet?

80 mins Madrid have no choice but to go for it now, and Pedro León is on for Pepe.

81 mins If anyone was wondering, Auxerre are now 2-1 up in the other game in this group.

83 mins Inzaghi takes a breather, enjoying a nice lie-down after being chopped down by Marcelo. The latter is predictably incredulous that he should be penalised for kicking an opponent in the back of the leg.

84 mins Last substitution for Milan - Gattuso coming off for Clarence Seedorf. That would normally be an attacking move, but I'm assuming Seedorf will be told to reign himself in.

86 mins Ozil drives a bouncing ball goalwards from the cusp of the D, but he doesn't quite catch it right and Abbiati is able to smother it.

87 mins Another save from Abbiati, this time followed with a quick grin for the cameras. It was a decent stop too, with the keeper having to reverse direction sharply to get down to Alonso's drive following a deflected Pedro León centre from the right.

89 mins Pirlo takes a good minute off the clock as he receives treatment following an elbow to the eye socket. That sounds bad, but in reality the contact looked minimal.

90 mins We're going to have five minutes of injury time, which even taking into account Pirlo's time-wasting, does seem a little on the generous side.

90 mins (+1) Gattuso hasn't even put his tracksuit on since going off, and is standing on the touchline dishing out orders to his team-mates. This would be a huge win for Milan - psychologically as well as what it would mean for their prospects of getting out of the group.

90 mins (+2) Pirlo wins a free-kick 25-yards out and successfully converts it into a corner, his shot skipping up over the wall and into the bar. Unsurprisingly, just two Milan players seem to be going up for it.

90 mins (+3) Madrid are frantic, skittish, but yet to fashion a chance in the time added on here. Gattuso has been made to put a purple bib on.

GOAL! Milan 2-2 Real Madrid (Pedro León 90 mins +4) A substitute makes has the last say, but this time it isn't Inzaghi. Benzema released Pedro León with a wonderful disguised ball down the right and the forward thrashed the ball through the legs of Abbiati and in.

90 mins (+5) Mourinho fritters away a few seconds by throwing on Raul Albiol. I'm not actually sure who for.

Peep! Peep! Peeeep! And that's it from San Siro, Madrid snatching a point right at the death that is enough to secure their qualification from Group G. Milan will be flattened by the timing of the goal but on balance they will know this was not a terrible result to take from a game in which they were outplayed for long spells. An enjoyable game, one slow spell in the middle of the second half aside. It will be a real scrap for the second spot in the knock-out stages - two points separate the remaining three sides. That's it from me anyway, thanks for reading.

This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.

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Jose is a dream to have... you can just feel the vibe and intensity of his hold on the galacticos - GO MADRID GO
Advance to the next level - WOOT!
lucky draw for madrid

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