AC Milan 2 Celtic 0 match report: Sickening for Celtic as Emilio Izaguirre's late deflection sparks misfiring Milan


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The Independent Football

Milan struck twice late on to beat luckless Celtic in their Champions League Group H opener at San Siro tonight.

The home side were struggling against Neil Lennon's men and in need of some inspiration as the game entered the final stages. However, they got a huge slice of luck when defender Cristian Zapata's drive in the 82nd minute appeared to be heading wide before it deflected off the visitors' left-back Emilio Izaguirre and ended up beating goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

The Celtic keeper was picking the ball out of the net again three minutes later despite making a great save from Mario Balotelli's free-kick, as midfielder Sulley Muntari knocked in the rebound.

Much was made of Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri's lengthy injury list, which included the absence of Kaka and captain Riccardo Montolivo, and indeed they looked disjointed for most of the match. Much of that, however, was down to the performance of Celtic.

Forster had to make several saves early on and one near the end of the first half, but in between, the visitors enjoyed more than their fair share of possession. There was a confidence in the way the Scottish champions kept the ball, albeit without threatening Milan keeper Christian Abbiati too much.

After the break Muntari missed a great chance while Celtic's in-form striker Anthony Stokes hit the top of the bar with a free-kick.

The two late goals, though, were a sickener for Celtic who take on Barcelona in their next group fixture in Glasgow at the start of next month with Ajax also waiting in the wings. However, on their overall display, they can go forward in the group with some confidence.

Milan (4-2-3-1): Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant (Robinho, 75); Muntari, De Jong; Nocerino, Matri (Poli, 87), Birsa (Emanuelson, 63); Balotelli. Substitutes not used Amelia, Cristante, Benedicic, Iotti.

Celtic (4-3-1-2): Forster; Van Dijk, Lustig, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Brown, Matthews (Boerrigter, 75), Mulgrew (Biton, 89); Commons (Pukki, 77); Samaras, Stokes. Substitutes not used Zaluska, Balde, Rogic, McGeouch.

Referee W Stark (Germany).