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AC Milan vs Real Madrid. UEFA Champions League Group C.

San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza)Attendance85,000.

AC Milan 1

  • Ronaldinho (35th minute pen)

Real Madrid 1

  • K Benzema (30th minute)

Euro giants share the spoils

Karim Benzema gives Real Madrid the lead against AC Milan in the San Siro
Image: Cool Karim: Karim Benzema celebrates putting Real Madrid ahead

AC Milan and Real Madrid remain on course to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages after a 1-1 draw.

Milan and Madrid stay on course for knockout stages

AC Milan and Real Madrid remain on course to qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout stages after a 1-1 draw at the Giuseppe Meazza. The European giants seldom hit the heights of their dramatic clash in Spain a fortnight ago but a point each leaves them joint top of Group C. The first half threatened to produce a classic similar to the game in Madrid with the visitors raining shots on Dida's goal. It was no surprise when they took the lead on the half-hour, Karim Benzema scoring from close-range after the Brazilian keeper could only parry Kaka's shot into his path. But Milan hit back within five minutes thanks to a controversial penalty. Pepe was harshly adjudged to have handled Gianluca Zambrotta's cross and Ronaldinho clinically put away the spot-kick. The home side appeared to have got their noses in front moments later but Pato was penalised for a push on Alvaro Arbeloa before firing beyond Iker Casillas. The second period failed to live up to the first with a series of niggling fouls disrupting play but both sides will be happy enough with a point.

Warm reception

Filippo Inzaghi, just one goal short of Gerd Muller's all-time record of 69 goals in European competition, was left on the Milan bench with Leonardo preferring Marco Borriello, who scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Parma at the weekend. And Raul, who is just one goal behind Inzaghi on 67, was also benched as Real coach Manuel Pellegrini kept his faith in Gonzalo Higuain, whose brace earned three points against Getafe. Kaka was given a warm reception on his return to Milan but, after he inspired Real to a bright start, that applause soon turned to jeers. Sergio Ramos and Benzema both sent shots inches wide of the post, with keeper Dida clearly beaten on both occasions. Milan threatened against the run of play when Clarence Seedorf sent Pato clear on Casillas, but the Real goalkeeper kept his composure to save with his right hand. Real then took a deserved lead in the 29th minute when Kaka skipped past Seedorf, who practically invited him to shoot. His effort took a slight deflection off Thiago Silva, which probably did enough to prevent Dida from holding onto the ball. It spilled into the path of Benzema, who shot into the far corner from a tight angle. Milan responded and were gifted the chance to equalise when Zambrotta's cross hit the arm of Pepe, just a yard away from him, inside the penalty area. Referee Felix Brych pointed to the penalty spot and Ronaldinho blasted the ball into the roof of the net. The game was transformed and Milan looked to capitalise with Pato scoring what looked like a perfectly valid goal, but Brych saw something he did not like in the build-up and ruled it out. There had been such a pace to the first half that the second 45 minutes simply could not carry on in the same manner, and so it was that the game lost its way slightly. The best chance for Milan was squandered by Inzaghi - who, like Raul, was sent on as a final throw of the dice. He was on the end of an inviting cross from Massimo Oddo in the 84th minute, but Pepe did just enough to unsettle the Milan striker, who lifted the ball over the crossbar from point-blank range. And Dida saved Milan in the 89th minute with a fine reflex save to turn Raul's shot behind for a corner when it looked like the Spaniards were going to steal victory.

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