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Home » Spurs Eliminated from Champions League by AC Milan: Score, Result, Highlights

Spurs Eliminated from Champions League by AC Milan: Score, Result, Highlights

09 March 2023, Thursday

On his return to the club after a five-week absence, Antonio Conte was unable to help Tottenham turn things around in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg as AC Milan progressed to the quarter-finals following a 1-0 victory on aggregate.

Spurs' players were guilty of wasting chances throughout, leaving manager Conte visibly frustrated at the final whistle. Brahim Diaz's early goal in the first leg proved enough to eliminate the London side, while Cristian Romero was dismissed in the late stages for a second bookable offense.

Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier Sheffield United and were then eliminated in the Carabao Cup Third Round by Nottingham Forest. They trail the current Premier League leaders Arsenal by a considerable 18 points.

Tottenham did not put in a stellar display, recording only one shot on target. This came late on when Harry Kane, their leading goal scorer, headed Son Heung-min's delivery, one of the few accurate crosses provided by the hosts, only to be denied by the AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Divock Origi, formerly of Liverpool, had a chance to give Milan some breathing room at the back when the visitors mounted a counter-attack and his shot cannoned off the post with the Tottenham goalkeeper Fraser Forster beaten. Milan could have taken the lead early in the second half when Diaz's thumping effort was blocked by Forster. Ultimately the Italian side was the deserved victor of the tie.

Milan's guests felt at ease for the majority of the match as they achieved a fourth consecutive shutout in the Champions League, progressing to the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time in 11 years.

Spurs will now seek to guarantee themselves another Champions League campaign by finishing in the top four of the Premier League. They stand fourth at the moment with Liverpool in hot pursuit right behind them.

Milan, who are 18 points behind the first-placed Napoli in the Serie A standings, placed fifth, will find out their opponents in the quarter-finals when the draw is conducted on Friday, March 17.

Upon his return, the excitable Conte had expected a boost from troubled Tottenham in the most vital fixture of the season thus far. But despite going in 1-0 down against a tough yet manageable opposition, their inability to produce any attacking efforts in the first half was a cause for concern. As usual, Conte's theatrics on the sidelines were the main source of entertainment before the break, with the former Inter coach receiving an early warning from the referee for a complaint.

Romero had been cautioned for a clumsy challenge earlier in the game and, by the 77th minute, his rashness saw him earn a red card after injuring himself and Theo Hernandez with a predictable foul. His manager had considered making changes, but eventually sent on Pedro Porro, who provided more of a threat from crossing positions. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg managed to thrash in a shot which Maignan palmed away, but it wasn't enough for Tottenham to make a comeback despite the pressure they created.

Questions about the futures of Conte and Kane at Spurs will undoubtedly arise following their defeat in the Europa League. A spot in the quarterfinals seemed so close, yet Tottenham missed out on yet another chance at silverware, which they haven't seen since 2008.

Their 3-0 loss to Wolves at the weekend marked the second consecutive game in which they failed to score, leaving them four points shy of Manchester United in third. With Liverpool three points behind them but with a game in hand, Tottenham will have to put in some decent performances in their remaining 12 Premier League games to stand any chance of returning to the Champions League next season.

Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori, both ex-Chelsea and Arsenal players, were amongst the content Milan players after their side advanced through on aggregate, despite not playing at their usual attacking best. Milan chose to sit back and stay prepared to counter quickly, making for a much calmer night for them all. On the rare occasions that Spurs' attackers did become a threat, the England hopeful Tomori was up to the task; keeping the likes of Son and Richarlison silent, and only being troubled once by Kane via a header that was directed wide.

January saw Milan concede 18 goals in seven games, but since then they have only allowed one of their last seven opponents to score more than once against them.

This record of increasingly strong defensive performances has led to five clean sheets in their last six matches in all competitions. Pioli, speaking to Amazon Prime Video, was pleased with the end of their four-game losing streak in the knockout phase of the Champions League.

"We knew it would be tough, but we managed," he said.

Olivier Giroud nodded in agreement as he added, "We undoubtedly earned this outcome though we could have scored more." He commented, "We revealed quality, drive, and we could also have triumphed tonight."

The Frenchman was referring to the words uttered by the coach who noted, "I asked the players to display courage. We never gave in and we deserved to progress. We managed to reach the quarterfinals, now we will find out what transpires in the draw. We must consider every step.”

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