Milan out after drawing 0-0 at resolute Spurs

Reuters , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

Italian giants AC Milan fail to overturn the first-leg deficit to bow out of the European Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham go through at the expense of Milan

Seven-time European champions AC Milan were eliminated from the Champions League by debutants Tottenham Hotspur after drawing the second leg of their last-16 tie 0-0 at White Hart Lane to lose 1-0 on aggregate.

Milan, seeking to reach the last eight for the first time since winning their seventh title in 2007, failed to do that for the fouth successive season, despite creating the better chances on Wednesday.

Spurs, who won 1-0 at the San Siro, could not press home their advantage but the Premier League gave a resolute defensive performance to reach the last eight of Europe’s premier competition for the first time since they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1962.

“A great night for the players… a great night for the fans. It’s a great achievement for this club, to be in the last eight of the Champions League,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told ITV.

“It was hard work out there tonight. They were a good side but we worked our socks off and stayed with them.

“We got outnumbered in the middle of the park, (Milan midfielder) Seedorf played in that spare role, they passed it well in midfield and made it difficult for us to get near them.”

Spurs are the first English team through to the last eight this season following Arsenal’s defeat by Barcelona on Tuesday. Chelsea and Manchester United are still in contention for a quarter-final place.

Milan dominated the first half with Spurs penned in their own half for long periods and thankful to goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes and centreback William Gallas that they were not trailing at the interval.

Gomes, despite one or two typically erratic pieces of keeping, stretched to save a goalbound shot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic after 15 minutes and also did well to save from Pato just past the half hour.

But he was lucky that Gallas was on hand to save his embarrassment after 26 minutes when he was rounded by Pato whose cross found Robinho.

The Brazilian did not shoot cleanly, his effort looping off defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s back and was seemingly goalbound until Gallas hooked it clear from under the bar.

Spurs tactic of high balls played up to the tall Peter Crouch did not bring any tangible rewards even though the Milan defence struggled at times to cope with them and the London side’s best chances fell to Rafael Van der Vaart.

He poked a half-chance wide after only two minutes and sent a free kick just over Christian Abbati’s bar.

Milan, needing just one goal to take the tie into extra time, almost achieved that in stoppage time when Robinho sent a shot fizzing just over Gomes’s bar.

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