Champions League: AC Milan Beat Spurs, Bayern Humble PSG
The first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday night ended with victories for AC Milan and Bayern Munich.
Tottenham will need to mount a Champions League comeback after Brahim Diaz gave AC Milan a narrow victory in the first leg of their round of-16 match at the San Siro.
Spurs goalkeeper Fraser Forster made an outstanding save to stop Theo Hernandez’s initial follow-up attempt and also prevented Diaz’s initial attempt.
Antonio Conte’s team appeared relatively at ease for significant parts of the encounter against the seven-time European champions as Pape Sarr and Oliver Skipp, a young midfield pair, successfully filled in for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s absence due to suspension and Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury.
Their front three consisted of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, and Dejan Kulusevski up until his withdrawal, but due to strong home defense, they struggled to gain any forward impetus.
Except for speculative long-range shots from Emerson Royal and Sarr, Conte’s team appeared to be most capable of posing a danger from set pieces. Also, neither Kane nor Eric Dier was able to direct headers on goal from two excellent Son deliveries.
In the end, Spurs were grateful for the hosts’ negligence because Malick Thiaw of Germany and Charles de Ketelaere of Belgium both wasted excellent opportunities to give the Italian squad a commanding lead in the game.
Spurs would have had a far harder time recovering for the second leg on March 8 in London if either had nodded in from close range.
To make matters worse for Spurs, Dier will be punished for collecting a second-half booking in the first-leg tie, so they will have to try to win the game without him in March.
Bayern Humbles PSG
Kingsley Coman repeated his heroics from the 2020 Champions League final as Bayern Munich overcame Paris St. Germain in their last-16 first-leg match.
The Frenchman scored the game-winning goal in Paris early in the second half with a volley.
Three years ago, Coman also scored the lone goal as Bayern overcame PSG to win the trophy.
Substitute Kylian Mbappe seemed to have preserved a draw for the home club after making his comeback from injury, but his late goal was disallowed for offside in the buildup.
Home celebrations were cut short as left-back Nuno Mendes was ruled narrowly offside by the video assistant referee (VAR) before he delivered a cross for Mbappe to finish into the roof of the net.
Following losses to Marseille in the Coupe de France and Monaco in Ligue 1, another damaging defeat piles the pressure on manager Christophe Galtier.
PSG, who have still never won the Champions League, now face a tough task in the return leg in Germany on 8 March.
Mbappe, who had been previously anticipated missing this game due to a thigh injury, was introduced after 57 minutes, but it was obvious that he was not yet fully healthy.
PSG found it difficult to generate any noteworthy chances in the opening period, while Bayern dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge until Coman’s goal in the 53rd minute.
A long cross from the left by Alphonso Davies was met by the former PSG winger with a first-time volley.
Gianluigi Donnarumma, the PSG goalkeeper, was beaten by Coman’s effort but subsequently came up big to stop Pavard and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting’s attempts.
PSG gained momentum with the addition of Mbappe, and Yann Sommer stopped his close-range shot before Bayern’s goalkeeper was overtaken in the 82nd minute. But the goal didn’t stand as PSG lost 1-0 at home.
PSG, the Ligue 1 champions, have now lost three straight games.
Bayern, on the other hand, are the favorites to move on to the quarterfinals after staying undefeated since September 17 in all competitions, despite having defender Benjamin Pavard sent out in Tuesday night’s game for collecting a second booking in overtime.
Lionel Messi was fit to start up front for PSG after overcoming a hamstring injury, giving them an advantage over their rivals.
Warren Zaire-Emery, the youngest player to ever start a Champions League knockout stage match at the age of 16 years and 343 days, received the start in midfield as well.
The Frenchman was born in 2006, the same year that Messi, 35, won his first Champions League title.