Alexandre Pato scored his first goal of the season to snatch a 1-1 draw against Malaga that keeps Milan in second place. The Rossoneri are only one point clear of Anderlecht now, though.
The Spaniards were practically qualified for the next phase, but the Rossoneri were looking for precious points after their 1-0 defeat in Malaga. Robinho was only fit for the bench, but Alexandre Pato and Nigel De Jong were chosen ahead of Giampaolo Pazzini and Massimo Ambrosini, while Luca Antonini and Djamel Mesbah were sidelined. Max Allegri stuck with the 4-2-3-1 system that proved so successful in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Chievo. Malaga missed Julio Baptista, Nacho Monreal and Recio, but Sergio Sanchez returned.
Malaga were the only side in the tournament who still hadn’t conceded a goal. Milan had to make a substitution after just six minutes, as Ignazio Abate picked up a muscular problem in the warm-up and the risk did not pay off, so he had to make way for Under-21 international Mattia De Sciglio.
Eliseu’s half-hearted lob could not trouble Christian Abbiati, but at the other end Bojan Krkic nutmegged a defender and unleashed a swerving strike that Willy Caballero brilliantly palmed round the near post. The former Barcelona starlet then got to the by-line and pulled back for Stephan El Shaarawy, who was unlucky to see his shot deflected wide.
Moments El Shaarawy slipped in the box under pressure and Riccardo Montolivo’s follow-up was deflected over.
Another great flying Willy save managed to flap a curling Urby Emanuelson free kick out of the far top corner, as Milan stepped up the pressure. It would’ve been a stunning goal for the Dutchman.
However, it was Malaga who broke the deadlock at San Siro against the run of play. An angled Isco through ball caught out Kevin Constant and allowed Eliseu through for a daisy-cutter past Abbiati into the far bottom corner.
Bojan went on a surging run through the middle, but was closed down by Martin Demichelis when he perhaps should’ve passed to El Shaarawy. Emanuelson then blasted just over the bar.
After the restart Emanuelson’s snapshot was too central and smothered by Willy Caballero, then El Shaarawy turned between two defenders but couldn’t keep the finish on target. Riccardo Montolivo attempted a backheel flick from a corner, but it hit Camacho’s hip.
The Malaga goalkeeper fumbled a cross when colliding with Demichelis, but Constant was unable to take advantage and scuffed the shot wide with his weaker foot. Emanuelson blasted well over, but Massimiliano Allegri prompted jeers of disappointment and irritation from the crowd when he replaced El Shaarawy with Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Another Emanuelson free kick was comfortably into the goalkeeper’s arms, as was the angled drive from substitute Roque Santa Cruz, while Willy Caballero flapped a Philippe Mexes cross out from under the bar.
Milan got their equaliser from a touched-on corner, as Constant whipped a cross to the back post for Pato’s cushioned header. It was the Brazilian’s first goal of the season and the first Malaga have conceded in the Champions League.
Boateng did well to get in front of Jesus Gamez to volley a De Sciglio cross, but again Willy Caballero was ready with a solid catch. Allegri gambled with his final switch, introducing fit-again Robinho for Emanuelson, as Milan’s tails were up.
Boateng got back to intercept a dangerous pass that would’ve sent Eliseu clear on goal at the 87th minute, as the Rossoneri were pouring forward in a desperate bid to secure victory and forcing numerous corners. Constant over-stretched and was limping, but had to continue for the closing stages.
Milan 1-1 Malaga
Scorers: Eliseu 40 (Ma), Pato 73 (Mi)
Milan: Abbiati; Constant, Mexes, Bonera, Abate (De Sciglio 6); Montolivo, De Jong; El Shaarawy (Boateng 62), Bojan, Emanuelson (Robinho 80); Pato
Malaga: Willy; Gamez, Demichelis, Weligton, Sergio Sanchez; Camacho, Iturra (Toulalan 75); Joaquin (Seba 82), Isco, Eliseu; Saviola (Santa Cruz 69)
Ref: Webb (ENG)
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