The knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League got off to a perfect start as Tottenham Hotspurs beat AC Milan at the San Siro to give the Rossoneri an uphill task of winning at White Hart Lane in three weeks time.
Tottenham’s hero in the group stages Gareth Bale failed to recover in time from injury but that didn’t stop Harry Redknapp from fielding an attacking lineup against the seven time European Champions. Spurs were on the move right away and the attacking combination of Crouch, Lennon and Van der Vaart creating as many as four chances in the first quarter of the game. Christian Abbiati, the Milan goalkeeper was as sure as ever as he punched away goal bound shots of the feet of Van der Vaart and Crouch. But disaster struck and Abbiati injured himself forcing Milan into a substitution. Van der Vaart tested the new goalkeeper Amelia soon after Milan were thanking the heavens that they went into the break on level terms.
Massimiliano Allegri brought on Pato for the ineffective Seedorf at the break yet it was Tottenham who almost got the lead as Van der Vaart’s chip rolled just wide. Milan got their first real chance in the 48th minute as Gomes did well to keep out Yepes’ header. Gomes pulled off another smart save as momentum began to swing towards the home side. Pato combined well with Flamini and looked destined to score until his shot was blocked by Palacios. If the first half belonged to Spurs, the second half completely belonged to Milan – until a counterattacking move caught them unguarded.
Lennon with all his pace charged into the Milan box and set up Crouch who calmly put the goal past Amelia. Spurs 1 Milan 0. The ever improving English team had managed to silence the whole of Milan once again.