AC Milan marked their long-awaited return to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages with an important 1-0 victory vs. Tottenham at the San Siro on Tuesday in leg one of the Round of 16 matchup.
The game-winning goal came as early as the seventh minute when Brahim Díaz bundled the ball into Spurs’ net.
With Hugo Lloris out with a knee injury Fraser Forster filled in between the posts for Tottenham. Moments before the Milan goal the 34-year-old keeper produced an incredible double-save.
Forster couldn’t keep out the third effort though as Brahim launched himself like Superman over the goalkeeper to head in the opening goal.
Brahim goal vs. Tottenham
Brahim Diaz gets the party started at the San Siro less than 10 minutes into the match.A dream start for Pioli's men. pic.twitter.com/meGqEsU4xE
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) February 14, 2023
Brahim Diaz's goal was the fastest for Milan in a knockout game since Ronaldinho against Manchester United in February 2010 ⚫️#UCL pic.twitter.com/uZNB7K80mx— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 14, 2023
The Rossoneri were playing their first Champions League knockout game in nine years and couldn’t have asked for a better start. Brahim hadn’t scored for his side since Oct. 22 and will be elated to open his Champions League scoring account this season.
Tottenham was unable to find a response to Brahim’s early goal as the two clubs played a bit of a chess match. Spurs’ best opportunity happened right before the half but was called back for offside. Son’s initial effort was saved, and Harry Kane hit the crossbar on the follow-up attempt.
If thing go awry for Milan in the second leg, they will only have themselves to blame. The hosts had two massive chances in the 78th and 79th minutes. Charles De Ketelaere nearly scored with his first touch but couldn’t get his header on target.
In the next minute Messias had the Tottenham goal gaping in front of him but somehow managed to steer his header wide of the goal.
Milan would be far more comfortable with a 3-0 aggregate lead but will have to settle with the one goal advantage.
These two will face off in the second leg on March 8.