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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Champions league, AC Milan 2-2 Bayern Munich

Justice done as Van Buyten puts Bayern in the driving seat
Daniel van Buyten did not cause much of a stir in Manchester during his five appearances for City three years ago. Then he was on loan from Marseille and searching for career direction; now he is a big-money purchase for Bayern Munich and the robust Belgian justified several down payments with not one but two late equalisers here last night. Van Buyten's second, over three minutes into injury-time, gives Bayern away-goals advantage in the second leg next week and took some of the glare off the Russian referee, Yuri Baskakov, whose 84th-minute penalty award to Milan infuriated the Germans!

AC Milan had appeared to be on their way to a controversial win when Kaka had tucked away a highly dubious penalty in the 84th minute, awarded after he had gone down in the box after a sliding tackle from Lucio. Replays clearly showed Lucio making contact with the ball rather than Kaka, his Brazil international team-mate, but Russian referee Yuri Baskakov pointed straight to the spot.

The first shot on goal arrived in the 14th minute when Ambrosini headed towards goal following a corner kick, but Rensing parried the shot and saved his goal. Bayern's only chances were coming from long-distance shots and the best goal-scoring opportunity arrived in the 23rd minute when Ottl's powerful strike from 21 metres was well saved by Dida.

Still, Milan were in total control of the match and could have opened the score in the 36th minute when Oddo ran on the right hand side and crossed towards the middle, but Gilardino's close-range header was superbly saved by Rensing, who proved once again that he is a worthy substitute of Oliver Kahn.

Milan deserved to be ahead, and even Rensing's defiance was powerless to stop them finally taking the lead after 40 minutes. Oddo's cross found Pirlo at the far post, and his header looped beyond Rensing.

Gilardino had a perfectly good goal ruled out soon after the break, the linesman wrongly flagging for offside after the much-maligned Milan striker had clipped the ball over Rensing after running onto Kaka's pass.

Van Buyten levelled against the run of play when the Milan defence had failed to clear Hasan Salihamidzic's cross.

Kaka restored Milan's lead, slotting home from the penalty spot after Lucio had been harshly penalised. But Van Buyten had the last laugh, capitalising on some poor Milan defending to equalise with the last touch of the game.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti:
"The team deserved to win for what it did. Bayern has a better chance of qualifying now but I think we were the better team. We need to regroup.

"However, we can draw strength from our performance tonight."

Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld:
"It was a really great match, full of emotion and surprises. We deserved the draw given the way we fought until the very end.

"Milan was definitely the better team in the first half and Rensing was truly excellent. So, we're very grateful to him."

AC Milan: Dida, Oddo, Nesta, Maldini, Jankulovski (Kaladze 87), Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Seedorf (Gourcuff 85), Kaka, Gilardino (Inzaghi 71).
Subs Not Used: Kalac, Cafu, Bonera, Brocchi.

Booked: Gilardino.

Goals: Pirlo 40, Kaka 84 pen.

Bayern Munich: Rensing, Sagnol (Lell 67), Lucio, Van Buyten, Lahm, Salihamidzic, Hargreaves, Ottl, Schweinsteiger, Makaay (Santa Cruz 86), Podolski (Pizarro 68).
Subs Not Used: Dreher, Scholl, Gorlitz, Demichelis.

Booked: Salihamidzic, Van Buyten.

Goals: Van Buyten 78, 90.

Champions league, Milan 2-2 Bayern munich highlights and goals: