Atletico Madrid top AC Milan after Costa goal
By Daniella Matar ,AP
February 21, 2014, 12:06 am TWN
MILAN -- Atletico Madrid struggled throughout but managed to win 1-0 at AC Milan thanks to a late Diego Costa header in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday.
Diego Costa headed in Gabi's corner seven minutes from time to secure victory ahead of the return match in Madrid on March 11.
Milan had dominated the match with its best performance of the season, hitting the woodwork three times in an entertaining first half hour.
Spain's joint league leader was the overwhelming favorite but Milan was the superior side and had the better chances in Clarence Seedorf's first Champions League match as a manager.
The Dutchman is the only player to have won the competition with three different clubs.
There was more bad news for Milan as star striker Mario Balotelli went off clutching his shoulder 12 minutes from time.
Bayern Munich won 2-0 at 10-man Arsenal in the other match of the night. Both teams missed a penalty in the first half, which also saw Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off.
Milan was boosted by key playmaker Kaka recovering from injury in time and the Brazilian was given the captain's armband. Kaka overcame a bout of `flu to play in Friday's 1-0 victory over Bologna but had to be replaced 10 minutes from time after injuring his right ankle.
Stephan El Shaarawy, Valter Birsa, Robinho, Bryan Cristante and Cristian Zapata were all out with injury while Sulley Muntari and captain Riccardo Montolivo were both suspended. New signing Keisuke Honda is cup tied, having played in the Champions League this season for CSKA Moscow
Milan was the overwhelming underdog after a miserable season which saw coach Massimiliano Allegri sacked at the beginning of the year. The side is ninth in the Serie A table and had been eliminated in each of its past four knockout ties against Spanish opposition.