Date : –  Tuesday 14th February 2023 Kick off : –  20.00
Competition : –  Champions League Ro16 First Leg Venue : –   San Siro
Crowd : –  74,320
Referee : –  Sandro Schärer (SWI) Linesmen : – Stephane De Almeida (SWI); Bekim Zogaj (SWI)
Fourth official : – Lukas Fähndrich (SWI)
VAR official : – Marco Fritz (GER) VAR Assistant : – Fedayi San (SWI)
UEFA Delegate : – Irakli Nakaidze (GEO)
Referee Observer : – Alexandru Deaconu (ROM)
Weather : –  Chilly
Spurs kicked off the first half attacking the Curva Sud end
Playing time : –   90 + 12 minutes


    Diaz  06m 25s   None
  Tonali  (foul on Kane)  80   Romero (foul on Tonali)  48
  Hernandez  (dissent)  90+2   Dier (foul on Giroud)  63


1.   Ciprian TATARUSANU 20.   Fraser FORSTER
20.   Pierre KALULU 17.   Cristian ROMERO 
24.   Simon KJAER 15.   Eric DIER 
28.   Malick THIAW 34.   Clement LENGLET  (  33.   Ben DAVIES  81) 
56.   Alexis SAELEMAEKERS  (  30.   Junior MESSAIS  77)   12.   Emerson ROYAL
33.   Rade KRUNIC 4.   Oliver SKIPP
8.   Sandro TONALI     (  32.   Tommaso POBEGA  80)  29.   Pape Matar SARR
19.   Theo HERNANDEZ  (c)   14.   Ivan PERISIC
10.   Brahim DIAZ    (  90.   Charles De KETELAERE  77)  21.   Dejan KULUSEVSKI   (  9.   RICHARLISON  70) 
17.   Rafael LEAO  (  12.   Ante REBIC  90+1)  7.   Heung-Min SON  (  16.   Arnaut DANJUMA  81)  
9.   Olivier GIROUD 10.   Harry KANE
Substitutes Substitutes
83.   Antonio MIRANTE 40.   Brandon AUSTIN
92.   Lapo NAVA 41.   Alfie WHITEMAN
2.   Davide CALABRIA 6.   Davinson SANCHEZ
5.   Fode BALLO-TOURE 25.   Japhet TANGANGA
46.   Matteo GABBIA 23.   Pedro PORRO
27.   Divock ORIGI 45.   Alfie DEVINE
27.   Lucas MOURA

    = Assist        =  Goal scored       =  Own goal scored

Manager : – Stefano Pioli Manager : –  Antonio Conte
Kit Supplier : –  Puma Kit Supplier : – Nike
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Colours : – 
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Images of kits courtesy of the marvellous Colours of Football website


Well, it didn’t turn out to be the St. Valentine’s Day massacre it could have been with Spurs leaving the San Siro after this first leg of the Round of 16 tie with only a one goal deficit.  AC Milan may be a defensively orientated side, although that has been debatable over the last few Serie A weeks, who fancy holding out at the THS on 8th March, but Tottenham still have a hope if they can get their attacking game going.

After a first five minutes of sizing each other up, Milan’s first attack brought a goal.  Hernandez beat Romero in the air and as the Argentine fell to ground the Milan winger moved into the box and let go a thunderous shot that came off the bottom of Dier’s boot and hit Forster in the chest. The ball went into the middle of the box where Diaz shot at goal and Forster made a superb save while still on the floor to keep it out, but as the ball popped up, Diaz followed up to force the ball over the bar with a header. Not the start that we all wanted, but it left plenty of time to get back into the match.

Lately, when we let a goal in another usually follows soon after. Spurs almost got back into it after 12 minutes when a Son free-kick was played in straight with a bit of weight on it and Dier glanced a header on it, but it went straight at the keeper. With Milan dropping back towards their keeper for every free-kick there were a few instances where flick-ons were made, but nothing too difficult for the home defence to deal with.  After 25 minutes there was a more direct effort as Royal tried a long-range effort, but it went straight into the keeper’s midriff.

There was a long period of play between the boxes without any real goal threat, but Forster’s quick kick out caught the Milan keeper coming outside his box and slicing his clearance. As Skipp looked to get to it first, Hernandez shoved him over from behind with a cynical foul that only resulted in a free-kick, ensuring that there was no catching the keeper off his line and the free-kick was cleared away. There was a good chance for Spurs in the closing stages of the half, with Son getting free and forcing the keeper to push his shot out into the middle of the penalty area where Kane got to it and shot against the underside of the bar, with the ball coming out before the offside flag went up against Son.

The first side had been fairly even apart from the goal, which made it all the more annoying that we conceded so early.  Romero needs to stop thinking he can do anything because he is a World Cup winner, as it was poor positional play that allowed him to get out-jumped by Hernandez, which led to the Milan goal.  He is becoming a bit impetus and while it is good that he is being aggressive, it needs to be controlled aggression.

Cristian was booked again (think that makes it almost every game since he returned from injury) for a rash challenge where he went through the back of Tonali, who needed a fair bit of treatment before play got underway again.  Milan were winning the ball quite a lot in the first ten minutes and only a good challenge just outside the Spurs box by Sarr stopped them making something of an overload on our defence. The Spurs fans were getting behind the team with “When the Spurs Go Marching in” echoing around the stadium. The referee fell for Giroud’s exaggeration of Dier’s tackle on him to earn the Tottenham defender a booking that rules him out of the second leg.

Lenglet did well twenty minutes into the second half, when he burst through two players just outside the box on the left and looked to pull a ball across goal, but it was cut out for a corner. It was headed clear and from that Milan worked the ball forward that ended with Perisic trying to chest it back to Forster, but got it wrong, putting it just over his own bar.

With De Ketelaere coming on with fifteen minutes left, a cross was nodded forward by Giroud and the Belgian was free just outside the six-yard box, but put his header wide when he should have made it count. Then another long cross from the Milan left saw Thiaw head weakly across the goal when he should have scored, when he got behind Skipp, who had been put on the ground. They were two lucky escapes for Tottenham, but a ball up to Richarlison saw him put it back into Sarr’s run and he tried a shot from 25 yards out, which was going wide anyway before it took a flick off a defender. The corner was played in fiercely by Perisic and perhaps it dipped on Dier, who got his header all wrong and headed it down in front of him, but he was too far out and it took all the pace off it, allowing the keeper to easily jump up to collect it.

Giroud tried to play Leao through, but the striker’s first touch was too heavy and took the ball through to Forster.  Towards the end, the game became much more open and Richarlison got bundled over what looked just inside the area, but the referee gave nothing and the ball was mainly at the AC Milan end for the seven minutes of added time, but Spurs couldn’t find a way to goal.

So a 1-0 score-line still keeps Spurs in it, but the forward line will need to click into gear, as there was little joined up play at the top of the pitch tonight.  Sarr and Skipp did outstandingly well in the middle of midfield in the absence of the injured Bentancur and Bissouma and the suspended Hojbjerg.  They didn’t look out of place as they were comfortable on the ball and worked hard to defend off it.  However, the creativity is still missing and while there were a few chances, more will be needed to be made in the return leg.  And the chances that Milan were allowed will have to be cut out by the defence, as we can’t bank on them missing again.

Spurs will need to be aware of the dark arts that Milan will employ and the referee let a lot go tonight, but was pretty even-handed in his control of the game.  Conte said the fans will be crucial in the second leg and the atmosphere will need to be like it was against City to spur the team on.

Kirk Hammerton


  • This was AC Milan’s first win against Tottenham.


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