Match report from the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie between AC Milan and Tottenham at the San Siro as Spurs suffer a 1-0 loss; Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr made first Champions League starts for Spurs due to midfield personnel crisis.
Brahim Diaz’s early goal condemned Tottenham to a 1-0 loss against AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie but Antonio Conte feels their fans can roar them on to victory back in north London.
Former Manchester City winger Diaz bundled home from close range after seven minutes and Spurs were fortunate not to fall further behind in the closing stages when Milan spurned two glorious headed chances through Charles De Ketelaere and Malick Thiaw.
Instead, Conte will be relieved to return from a hostile San Siro with a deficit of only one goal having been forced to field a central midfield pairing of Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr due to Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury and the suspension of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Skipp and Sarr performed well in difficult circumstances on their full Champions League debuts but, in a largely cagey encounter, Spurs, beaten 4-1 by Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday, struggled to break down the stubborn hosts.
Their personnel issues will continue in the second leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with a yellow card to Eric Dier meaning he will miss out through suspension, but the one-goal margin of defeat means the tie is still open for Conte and his players.
“I know the San Siro and I know the difficulty to play with this atmosphere,” said Conte afterwards. “In the second game, we have to play at our stadium and our fans will create the atmosphere to help us overcome the Milan obstacle.”
AC Milan Tatarusanu (7), Thiaw (7), Kalulu (7), Kjaer (7), Hernandez (7), Saelemaekers (6), Krunic (7), Tonali (7), Diaz (7), Leao (8), Giroud (6).
Subs: De Ketelaere (5), Messias (6), Pobega (n/a), Rebic (n/a).
Tottenham: Forster (7), Emerson (6), Romero (5), Dier (6), Lenglet (6), Perisic (7), Sarr (8), Skipp (7), Kulusevski (5), Kane (6), Son (6).
Subs: Richarlison (6), Danjuma (6), Davies (6).
Player of the Match: Rafael Leao