Europa League last 16 result - AC Milan strike late to deny Manchester United win at Old Trafford
Europa League last 16 first leg, Old Trafford - Manchester United 1 (Diallo 50') AC Milan 1 (Kjaer 90')
Simon Kjaer of A.C. Milan celebrates with teammates Samu Castillejo and Diogo Dalot after scoring their team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United and AC Milan at Old Trafford
Amad Diallo scored a superb first goal for Manchester United, but a late equaliser saw AC Milan leave Old Trafford with a 1-1 draw in their Europa League first leg.
Half-time substitute Diallo found the net with a brilliant backward header just five minutes after his introduction to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the lead. But Simon Kjaer’s flicked header in added time earned an impressive Milan the point and away goal that their performance deserved.
The first half, dominated by Milan, was a tale of goals that could and maybe should have been. The visitors thought they’d gone ahead when Franck Kessie’s expertly-struck effort from the edge of the box flew past Dean Henderson in the United goal, only for VAR to spot a questionable hand ball and rule it out. And Stefano Piolo’s side created a host more half-chances before the interval as they opened United up time and again.
However, for all of Milan’s dominance, it was United who had the biggest chance in the remainder of the first half, with Harry Maguire producing one of the most remarkable misses of the season as he struck the post when completely unmarked and just a yard out.
United, inspired by Diallo’s header, were better after the break and could have added another had Daniel James managed to sort his feet out and finish into an empty net from Mason Greenwood’s cross.
But Milan continued to impress, with Kessie pulling the strings, and Kjaer snatched the late goal that their efforts merited to leave the tie in the balance.
The second leg in Milan will be played in a week’s time, with the draw for the quarterfinals to be held in Nyon the next day.
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It was some finish from Diallo to introduce himself to the Manchester United faithful. The goal was his first for the club with his first ever attempt, and it really was one to remember.
The 18-year-old didn’t do much else for the remainder of the half, although the service up to him was as much to blame for that as anything. But the quality of his goal suggests that United may have found themselves a bit of a talent.
Man of the Match – Franck Kessié (AC Milan)
The Cote d’Ivoire midfielder was the dominant force in midfield all night, pulling the strings for Milan and creating numerous chances for his profligate teammates.
Whether or not his first-half goal should have been allowed to stand is a debate that will rage on, but it was certainly a brilliantly-taken chance regardless of the subsequent VAR decision.
Solskjaer will have to work out a way to contain the 24-year-old ahead of the second leg.
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Man Utd: Henderson 5; Wan-Bissaka 5, Bailly 6, Maguire 6, Telles 5; Matic 6, McTominay 6; James 5, Bruno Fernandes 7, Martial 5; Greenwood 6. Subs: Diallo 8, Fred 6, Shaw 6, Williams 6.
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6’ – Big let-off for United as Leao dispatches a nice finish past Henderson only for the offside flag to go up. It was the right decision and the game remains goalless, but that’s a timely warning for the hosts that they will have to switch on, and fast!
8’ – What a hit that is from Martial! The forward takes the ball down well on his chest before testing Donnarumma with a powerful hit on the turn.
12’ NO GOAL! – Milan think they have the lead and it’s Kessie with a peach of a shot from the edge of the area that left Henderson with no chance. But VAR checks for a handball and rules the goal out.
38’ – That is one of the all-time great misses from Harry Maguire! Telles’ corner was flicked on and Maguire arrived to meet it, completely unmarked and a yard out at the back post. But somehow, remarkably, he manages to turn his effort onto the post and can only watch it ricochet right across the face of goal and away for a goal-kick beyond the far post. A truly absurd miss.
50’ GOAL! – United have the lead and it’s the substitute Diallo who has it. It’s a terrific goal too. Fernandes spotted the youngster making a run in behind and played a pinpoint ball over the top, but there was still plenty of work to do, only for Diallo to flick a first-time backward header over the onrushing goalkeeper. That’s superb. 1-0.
72’ – Daniel James is all alone at the far stick with the goal gaping, but he gets his feet in a muddle as Greenwood whips the ball across and he fires wide. That isn’t as bad a miss as Maguire’s, but it’s not a million miles away.
91’ GOAL! – Milan get the equaliser! Kjaer flicks on from a corner and it’s too powerful for Henderson to keep out. He’ll be very disappointed with that the keeper. 1-1!
Harry Maguire of Manchester United reacts during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United and A.C. Milan at Old Trafford
Image credit: Getty Images
Stats and Facts
Milan’s equaliser ended a brilliant defensive run from United, who had not conceded a goal in 503 minutes of football.
Manchester United have been knocked out in six of the previous eight ties European ties where they have failed to win the first leg at home.
Diallo’s is the youngest non-British player to score in one of Europe’s elite competitions, at 18 years and 243 days.