AC Milan dominated Newcastle, but had to settle for a draw (0-0) in front of their home crowd who saw French goalkeeper Mike Maignan go out injured on Tuesday during the first day of the Champions League .
Three days after its rout against Inter (5-1) in the Madonnina derby, AC Milan has not really reassured its supporters. Certainly, the Rossoneri were never worried by a pale Newcastle team which was making its return to the premier competition after 20 years of absence. Certainly, Olivier Giroud and his teammates monopolized the ball and created a slew of chances. But they sinned by a lack of realism and efficiency in the last gesture or came up against the Magpies goalkeeper, Nick Pope.
Stefano Pioli, the coach of the semi-finalists of the 2023 Champions League, had nevertheless sent a strong message to his group by depriving himself of the American international Christian Pulisic, so convincing for his debut in Serie A until the Milan derby where he sank, like all his teammates. His replacement in the starting eleven Samuel Chukwueze was also the first to bring the 65,000 spectators at San Siro to their feet by taking a cross with a header at the far post from Rafael Leao, easily stopped by Pope (13th). It's then Théo Hernandez who offers himself a good opportunity, but his header, a little too sharp when taking a corner, comes up against Pope (19th). The French international is still in sight in the 32nd minute: launched by Leao on the left flank, he crosses low, but Giroud, at the near post, misses the target. But the best opportunity fell to Leao when he slalomed through the Newcastle defense in the 32nd, but failed to shoot.
Continuing the action, Tommaso Pobega tries his luck but his attempt is deflected on the line by Newcastle defender Dan Burn. After the break, AC Milan still dominates, but is no longer as sharp. Until the joint entries at the hour mark of Pulisic and Tijani Reijnders which gave him a clear ascendancy, but still without success, like Leao who missed the target with his head (74th) or Giroud whose shot lodges directly in the arms of Pope (86th).
Another annoyance for AC Milan and Pioli, Maignan, although little used, had to leave his teammates in the 80th minute, due to a muscular problem in his thigh. In added time, Newcastle came close to pulling off a resounding hold-up when Matty Longstaff's shot was slammed over his crossbar by replacement goalkeeper Marco Sportiello. In this tough group, also including PSG and Dortmund, this draw at home could cost AC Milan dearly.