Misfiring AC Milan frustrated by Newcastle in goalless Champions League opener

AC Milan were left wondering how they never found the back of the net against Newcastle as their Champions League campaign began with a frustrating draw.

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STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan): AC Milan will rue missed chances after being held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle United at the Stadio San Siro in their opening Champions League game of the season, which saw them fail to convert their dominance into goals.

The Rossoneri mustered an impressive 25 shots against a Newcastle side that seemed to lack the means to pose a threat to the hosts, but the Magpies somehow managed to keep a clean sheet thanks to Nick Pope‘s noteworthy display.

The San Siro was at its very best once again as the home fans unfolded yet another jaw-dropping choreography spanning across all four sides of the stadium, reminding their players of the importance of the occasion.

AC Milan wasteful against Newcastle

The opening exchanges saw AC Milan quickly start to control possession, with the visitors keen to keep their lines compact and deploy more intense pressure when the Rossoneri tried to build from the back.

However, it didn’t take long before the hosts began to create one chance after another, forcing an impressive series of saves from Pope. While the first two attempts came from outside the box and were comfortably stopped, Samuel Chukwueze‘s header at the far post within 15 minutes had Pope called into action.

AC Milan’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali battle for the ball. [Photo: acmilan.com]

The goalkeeper palmed over yet another shot from long range shortly after, this time from Rade Krunic, but it was Theo Hernandez‘s header from the subsequent corner that tested his reflexes the most.

Six saves in as few as 20 minutes were followed by a slower phase that was just the prelude to Milan‘s clearest chance of the first half when Rafael Leao dribbled his way into Newcastle‘s box, only to lose his balance just before attempting to find the net. Tommaso Pobega‘s subsequent attempt was blocked on the line by Jacob Murphy.

Newcastle didn’t even come close to worrying Mike Maignan in the opening 45 minutes, with their attacking attempts unable to really put Milan‘s defence to the test.

Newcastle grind out a Champions League point as AC Milan fade

AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud addresses the crowd. [Photo: acmilan.com]

The script of the game changed slightly as things resumed after the break, with Newcastle being more careful to keep the hosts away from their box.

This didn’t prevent Stefano Pioli‘s side from continuing to push for a deserved opener, with substitutes Christian Pulisic, Tijjani Reijnders and Yunus Musah trying to boost the hosts’ offensive prowess, but no chance was mustered until the 72nd minute when Leao’s diving header was inches from putting Milan ahead.

The Rossoneri mounted a desperate final assault that bore no fruit and there was clear concern on the faces of Milan fans as they left the stadium, knowing how competitive a group they are in this season alongside Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund.

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