Underdogs Zurich stun Milan
AC Milan slumped to a shock Champions League loss to FC Zurich to heap more pressure on Leonardo.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 30/09/09 11:13pm
AC Milan slumped to a shock UEFA Champions League loss to FC Zurich in the San Siro to heap more pressure on under-fire coach Leonardo.
Hannu Tihinen's clever backheeled goal in the tenth minute gave the Group C underdogs a deserved victory over the Italian giants, who hit the post twice late on.
Milan started the better and Zurich keeper Johnny Leoni had to clear a cross from Ignazio Abate off the line with his right foot in the seventh minute.
But the Swiss champions soon took the lead when Tihinen backheeled a corner from Milan Gajic in mid-air to stun the San Siro.
Leoni then had to punch away an Andrea Pirlo free-kick from the left soon afterwards, while Filippo Inzaghi went close at the far post from a Marek Jankulovski cross.
But Milan's defence looked increasingly suspect and Dusan Djuric was allowed to run towards goal before unleashing a long range shot in the 22nd minute but his effort went wide.
Clarence Seedorf volleyed over soon afterwards before Xavier Margalraz shot just over from the edge of the box after a great pull back from the right by Johan Vonlanthen.
Abate then had to block a shot by Phillippe Koch, while Inzaghi headed just wide from Abate's cross at the other end.
Seedorf saw a long-distance effort go wide before Alessandro Nesta made a great tackle on Djuric, with Kakha Kaladze booked for a shirt tug before the resulting corner was taken.
Djuric then almost got onto a floated ball into the box from Silvan Aegerter before Gajic's placed shot from outside the area was easily gathered by Marco Storari.
The Milan keeper then had to make a decent save to deny Gajic's long-range effort in first-half injury time.
Milan boss Leonardo brought Ronaldinho and Gianluca Zambrotta on for Seedorf and Flamini at the start of the second period to try and ignite his side into action.
The switch almost got the desired effect within three minutes but Inzaghi could not get onto a scuffed Massimo Ambrosini shot.
Leoni then had to fist away a Ronaldinho free-kick with Abate blasting the resulting ball well over.
The Zurich keeper was then booked in the 51st minute for time wasting and Abate and Okonkwo joined him in the book soon afterwards, with the Milan player reacting angrily after being caught from behind.
Zurich won a free-kick outside the Milan box but Vonlanthen's effort hit the wall, while Inzaghi got into acres of space from a Pirlo free-kick at the other end but Leoni saved his goal-bound header.
Oguchi Onyewu came on for Nesta as Leonardo made his third switch of the night before Pato had three efforts on goal, all to no avail.
Leoni then saved a point-blank Inzaghi shot with his legs on the line in the 64th minute, while at the other end Storari produced an equally good save to deny Margalraz's shot with his left leg.
Milan continued to press forward, with Zambrotta blasting just over and Ambrosini glancing the post with a powerful effort.
Okonkwo shot just wide deep into injury time before Zambrotta hit the right post with a powerful effort from outside the box with virtually the last kick of the game.
The victory lifts Bernard Challandes' side into second in the table, level on points with Milan, as Real Madrid opened up a three-point lead in Group C by beating Marseille 3-0 in the Bernabeu.
|Milan||Team Statistics||FC Zürich|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||4|
|14||Shots off Target||3|