AC Milan remains without a competitive win at the Giuseppe Meazza this season after being held to a 0-0 draw by Anderlecht in their Champions League Group C opener on Tuesday night.
The Rossoneri went close on a few of occasions, with Mathieu Flamini, Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy all testing Silvio Proto in the visitors' goal.
However, for the most part, the home side struggled horribly to impose itself on the game and was grateful to a wasteful finish from Lucas Biglia for sparing the club what would have been a third successive defeat at the Giuseppe Meazza this season.
Indeed, with Milan having lost its first two home games in Serie A, against Sampdoria and Atalanta, it was hardly surprising that Anderlecht showed no fear of its illustrious rival. However, the level of control the club exerted over the first half was nonetheless startling.
The visiting side had the lion’s share of possession and repeatedly called Christian Abbiati into action, with Guillaume Gillet going closest with a near-post strike after a rampaging run down the right.
The one plus for Milan was that when the team did get some time on the ball, it looked the far more likely to score. Indeed, Flamini really should have broken the deadlock 18 minutes in after latching onto a clever lay-off from Kevin-Prince Boateng, but the Frenchman’s low drive was saved by the feet of Proto.
The latter came to Anderlecht’s rescue again just after the half-hour mark when he parried away Emanuelson’s instinctive half-volley, after the Dutchman’s run in behind the visiting side’s defense had been superbly spotted by Nigel De Jong.
It was Anderlecht, though, whiich had the best chance to break the deadlock early in the second half, but after being put through by the most delightfully-weighted through ball from Dieudonne Mbokani, Biglia blazed over the bar.
That let off prompted Massimiliano Allegri into action and the under-fire coach replaced the strangely subdued Boateng with El Shaarawy, who immediately injected some life into the Rossoneri attack.
Indeed, the young striker saw a near-post header saved by Proto before then playing a clever ball inside to Emanuelson, but the former Ajax man’s subsequent strike flew high and wide.
However, despite El Shaarawy's promptings, the home side was unable to fashion a late winner, meaning the team will now travel to Russia on Oct. 3 to face Zenit in dire need of a win. Anderlecht, meanwhile, will take great confidence into its meeting with Malaga on the same night.
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- Stephan El Shaarawy
- Silvio Proto
- Giuseppe Meazza
- Lucas Biglia
- Urby Emanuelson
- Mathieu Flamini