AC Milan surfaced a team at Old Trafford where they were without the effective services of Theo Hernandez, Ismael Bennacer, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessio Romagnoli, and Mario Mandzukic for the game, which saw the likes of Rade Krunic, Soualiho Meite, Diogo Dalot, and Brahim Diaz get the nod. What actually always kept the Rossoneri alive in the match was their fast-paced game and fighting spirit and it paid off.

The Rossoneri started the game with a bang – the visitors were the first team to put the ball in the net as Leao showed the danger of his pace in behind, racing onto a ball over the top and finishing past Henderson in the Manchester United goal at the near post, but it was ruled out due to offside and it was the right call.

Manchester United had their first attempt on goal three minutes later as a cross from Alex Telles on the left side was brought down by Martial, who forced Donnarumma into what was, in the end, a routine palm over the bar.

Krunic had a chance to recreate his heroics from the weekend when he let fly from just outside the box but dragged his shot wide of the far post as Henderson let it go.

Milan had the ball in the net again in the 11th minute as Kessie took a touch from a throw-in and thumped the ball into the far corner as it sat up for him nicely just inside the box. However, VAR decided to intervene for handball, though the replay showed that the call was dubious.

Milan pressed and formed a compact midblock which cut off the passing lanes of Manchester United. But they were fast in passing and accelerated when there was a break and without the ball, their intent was to regain possession quickly.

AC Milan had more control in the center of the park, with Franck Kessie, Soualiho Miete, and Rade Krunic looking very comfortable. They pressed hard, created more chances, and their build-ups were actually threatening.

Kessie was the standout player for AC Milan. If not for some no-nonsense defending from Manchester United’s center-back pairing, the visitors would have had an emphatic victory at Old Trafford.

Krunic again found himself in shooting range on the 25-minute mark as he was found in space on the left edge of the box, though he perhaps should have fired initially rather than cutting inside and seeing his shot deflected and gathered by a stretching Henderson.

Moments later, a ball through to Calabria found the full-back in space in behind though he couldn’t get a shot off before he was crowded out by Bailly and Wan-Bissaka.

Brahim Diaz led a counter on the half-hour mark before spreading the play to Saelemaekers, who cut inside and forced a rather easy save from Henderson, though the replay showed he was clipped by Matic and could have gone down.

United could have taken the lead just before the break as a header was glanced at the near post over to the far stick by Fernandes and Maguire missed from a yard out, somehow shinning the ball against the post and it looped to safety.

The last half-chance of the first half came as a deflected cross from Saelemaekers on the left wing found Brahim at the far post and his back-heel into a dangerous area just fell short of Meite.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played his trump card as he introduced Amad Diallo early on in the second half. The youngster repaid the faith entrusted in him with a beautifully lobbed header following a mesmerizing pass from Bruno Fernandes.

The header marked Amad Diallo’s first goal for Manchester United’s senior side. It also made him the youngest non-British player ever to score in a major European competition for the club.

But Milan never gave up and continued to attack in search of a goal – the United defence had not been organized and neither the midfield was compact enough to counter the pressing and pace during transitions.

Henderson was called into action once again as Kessie scuffed an effort at the near post. Krunic kept picking up the ball in threatening areas and the referee kept making errors as he saw a shot from the edge of the box in the 63rd minute deflected over with what was a good block, but the referee whistled for a goal kick.

Calabria found Krunic free at the far post, yet he somehow headed over the bar from a few yards out despite a clean connection.

Saelemaekers found the opportunity on the next attack as Kessie won the ball back high up the pitch and squared to him on the edge of the area, though he scuffed his attempt.

Another big chance was squandered by Daniel James. The Welshman fluffed his finish after some great work by Mason Greenwood. The Red Devils will be hoping that these misses do not come back to haunt them.

In the closing stages, United pressed high to try and get what would have been a crucial second goal on the night, and on the few occasions Milan carved chances to cause problems at the other end, but the finishing was not evident.

In the injury time – United were left stunned and their weakness against set-pieces was evident again as Simon Kjaer rose at the near post to direct a header towards goal that Henderson should have done better with but could only flap into the roof of the net while back-peddling.

It was the much-needed equalizer and with that, the Rossoneri take the advantage of an away goal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a mistake by withdrawing Manchester United’s only playmaker Bruno Fernandes in the 73rd minute and replacing him with Fred. To make matters worse, he subbed two more defenders in the form of Brandon Williams and Luke Shaw.

The Norwegian got his substitutes absolutely wrong, allowing AC Milan to go all-in at the opposite end. With fewer players to worry about at the back, the visitors pushed bodies up-front. They were finally rewarded for their resilience when Kjaer equalized late in the game.

“It’s important. We had a great game, we came here with personality, and we dominated, playing our game. The handball on Kessie’s goal wasn’t there, I talked to him, and it’s a mistake. That goal would have changed the game. We had a great match tonight,” Kjaer said to Sky Italia.

“They have quality, but with personality and patience, we can move the ball and play our game. We did it with personality; we came here with our chest out to play for Milan. The team played strong tonight, another very difficult game awaits us next week.”

We knew that to win we had to score. Their draw complicates things. Scoring goals one minute from the end is always complicated. We will see what happens next week at San Siro, where we will play the match,” Ole stressed in the press conference.

“Diallo’s goal was very nice, with the right timing. Kjaer’s goal was built well by them, with a block that allowed him to head the ball. This goal obliges us to score at San Siro and win the game. We will have to be better. We were slow, they played well and aggressively. We were slow in the possession phase.”


“We never played fast, I’m disappointed with that. We should recover some players and see how it will be. Martial? We have to evaluate him. I hope to recover Rashford for the Milan match. We need him while Cavani will not be there. We have a chance to go through; we need to score one or two goals to change the fortunes of qualification. ”

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