Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League Group F match at San Siro between AC Milan and Newcastle United. First of all, let’s condemn another incident in which a football fan was stabbed during a day trip to Italy. For over 20 years there have been stories of stabbings, often from behind, and stabbings in the 24 hours before matches in Rome, Naples, Turin and Milan, and it still continues. Some people who don’t travel say that trouble can always be easily avoided, but no matter what precautions you take, except for not going out, getting jumped and stabbed in the back can happen at any time. individual or group. Ambushes, whether random or planned, surprise even the most cautious partisans, as they are designed to do. It is the shame of Italy and the shame of UEFA that this continues to happen.
Right, Newcastle are returning to European football for the first time since their Europa League quarter-final defeat to Benfica in 2013, and to the Champions League proper since a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona at St James’s in the second group stage in 2003. They came into the match following a 1–0 victory over Brentford when Eddie Howe stiffened his midfield with the introduction of Sean Longstaff and opted for Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes in his three first instead of Alexander Isak and Miguel Almirón. They looked much stronger, but that begs the question of Sandro Tonali’s departure against his former club here.
Milan fared quite well without him, switching to 4-3-3 and utilizing Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s propensity for dribbling, Tijjani Reinders’ box-to-box dynamism and Rade Krunic’s probing in midfield. But all that came horribly to unravel for them in Saturday night’s derby when they were knocked out 5-1. “Today’s result does not take away from the quality and depth of my team,” Stefano Pioli said with general derision after the match. Against a team that still relies heavily on Rafael Leao for his spark and Olivier Giroud to keep pushing forward, Newcastle have more than enough to exploit further swings.