Newcastle withstand AC Milan onslaught on Champions League return

Newcastle withstand AC Milan onslaught on Champions League return

Newcastle held AC Milan to a goalless draw on their return to the Champions League in an entertaining match at San Siro.

Milan winger Rafael Leao kept the Newcastle defence busy throughout the contest and had his best opportunity in the 34th minute, but he miscued an elaborate backheel after skipping past two defenders.

He was also wasteful in the second half, firing a header over the bar after Alessandro Florenzi found him with an inch-perfect cross. The visitors’ attacking efforts were limited to counter-attacks and they had just one shot on target, which came in the closing moments.

07:55 PM BST

A desire to bring you Eddie Howe's reaction to that valuable point ...

Has been stymied by TNT Sport’s decision to switch immediately to De Kuip and Feyenoord v Celtic.

07:42 PM BST

Full time: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Trippier hoops the free-kick beyond the far post and that’s that. A point in Group F for Newcastle to start their first Champions League campaign for 20 years. It wasn’t pretty, they made very few chances and, although the visitors could have stolen it at the end, Milan will be kicking themselves for all the shots they got off and fired straight at Pope. Rafa Leao should really have scored twice, once when he glided into the box and sat Longstaff on his tuchas and promptly tripped himself up, and then with a diving header. But Newcastle dug in and Trippier and Botman, in particular, were magnificent.

07:41 PM BST

90+5 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Good save from Sportiello to push Longstaff’s shot over after Longstaff and Bruno dispossessed Hernandez who thinks he has been fouled. Almiron took it off up the right and fed Anderson who laid it off perfectly for Longstaff to wrap his instep around and arc a dipping shot towards the top left.

07:39 PM BST

90+3 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

The match has lost all its shape and Newcastle are reliant on Trippier and a superb recovery tackle to stop Musah breaking down the right after a wasted Newcastle free-kick.

07:38 PM BST

90+1 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

The first of five minutes of stoppage time starts with a Pulisic corner that bypasses the entire box. Hernandez fetches it and feeds it back to the edge of the area where Leao bludgeons a shot over.

07:35 PM BST

90 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Barnes ⇢ Isak as Newcastle defend a throw-in at the price of a corner.

07:35 PM BST

89 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle break with Almiron short-stepping up the inside-right until he finally feeds Longstaff outside him but his cross is straight down Sportiello’s throat. It gives Milan a chance to counter rapidly, which they do, and Botman tries to contain Giroud by forcing him wider than he wanted before unleashing a crisp but imprecise shot at Pope.

07:33 PM BST

87 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Florenzi, as he has done frequently this half, bounds up the right and threads it into Leao 15 yards out. His shot is blocked as is Pulisic’s follow up. Newcastle keep giving the ball away but they are brilliantly organised in their own box.

07:31 PM BST

86 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Fine ans crucial tackle by Anderson stops a Milan raid up the right.

07:30 PM BST

85 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Booking for Giroud for getting right into the referee’s grill to protest being penalised for jumping into Longstaff.

07:29 PM BST

84 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Trippier floats the free-kick diagonally to the back post and Botman can’t get a clear jump at it, nodding it insipidly wide.

07:28 PM BST

82 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Bruno draws the foul from Musah just as he was about to run out of puff following a lung-mangling 30-yard run. He leans across the substitute and invites the collision before hitting the deck.

Rafael misses a headed effort
Leao turns his header over the bar - Kieran McManus/Shutterstock

07:25 PM BST

80 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Maignan can’t go on.

Sportiello ⇢ Maignan.

07:24 PM BST

78 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Maignan sits on the turf and calls for the physio. No obvious contact recently.

07:23 PM BST

77 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Almiron again diligently tracks Hernandez and stops him getting on the end of another Florenzi menacing cross.

07:22 PM BST

75 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Giroud’s effort from Musah’s cross which was deflected into his feet. too close really to get any power, squirts off a defender across the box and Almiron hares after it to poke it away before Hernandez can apply the finish. Milan corner comes out to the right of the D for Hernandez. He absolutely leathers it but Longstaff, I think,. makes the bravest of blocks.

07:19 PM BST

72 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Golden chance for Leao with a diving header. If only Giroud had the legs to make that run. Florenzi whips over an outswinger on the run towards the penalty spot and Leao leaps forward to flash his header over. Giroud, in his pomp, would have buried that.

07:17 PM BST

When the two eights clash

Musah ⇢ Loftus-Cheek

And for Newcastle:

Anderson ⇢ Tonali

07:16 PM BST

70 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Loftus-Cheek injured himself in getting that cross over and seems to have hurt his right quad or hamstring. On comes the Milan quack in elegant suit plus Puma kings. Neat, neat, neat.

07:14 PM BST

68 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Loftus-Cheek powers down the outside, striding past Tonali but fires his cross straight into Pope’s midriff.

07:12 PM BST

66 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle throw high up the right but they end up having to go backwards after Wilson’s attempted pass into the box hits Reijnders. Newcastle recycle up the right but Hernandez holds off Almiron to play the ball back to Maignan.

07:10 PM BST

64 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Reijnders soft-shoe shuffles his way down the inside left after good distraction work by Giroud. But when the moment comes to pull the trigger he has still got his soft shoes on and sweeps a weak low shot far too close to Pope. He needed his thunder-boots on at the end there.

07:07 PM BST

63 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Double Newcastle substitution:

Almiron ⇢ Murphy

Wilson ⇢ Gordon.

Isak goes out to the left.

07:06 PM BST

61 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Double Milan change.

Pulisic ⇢ Chukwueze

Reijnders ⇢ Pobega.

07:05 PM BST

59 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

The crowd groans in frustration when Krunic doesn’t deliver a simple pass and Newcastle break but poor control lets Tomori and Krunic clean up.

Sandro Tonali controls the ball
Tonali shows his control and flexibility - MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

07:03 PM BST

57 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Free-kick on the right for Milan taken by Krunic. Burn heads clear but a Murphy foul gives away a free-kick on the left ... that Tonali heads away.

Stefano Pioli, coach of AC Milan, Theo Hernandez of AC Milan and Jacob Murphy of Newcastle United gesture
Hernandez and his manager protest - Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

07:00 PM BST

55 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Murphy’s cross on the run arrows towards Isak at the back post but Maignan makes like Superman and launches himself off his feet, one hand raised, to punch it away.

06:58 PM BST

54 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Florenzi is doing what Calabria did in the first time when Milan were in possession, tucking into midfield like John Stones. When he receives the ball in that position he drives forward, tacking infield until he spots an opening but then drags a aleft-foot shot harmlessly wide.

06:56 PM BST

52 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Murphy has Trippier screaming for the ball as he runs down the right but Murphy cops a deaf ’un to his captain and blazes a tame shot.

06:55 PM BST

50 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Florenzi, the former Roma man, crosses towards the back post and Trippier, despite having his hands full with Chukwueke and Loftus-Cheek, deals with it well.

06:53 PM BST

48 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Tonali takes the ball in the inside-left channel and, after looking up, decides to shoot. Straight into Thiaw who was rapidly closing the gap.

06:51 PM BST

46 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Isak is also dropping very deep but earns his side a free-kick 10 yards outside their box when he holds off Krunic until he is fouled.

06:50 PM BST

One change for Milan

Florenzi ⇢ Calabria. Two more imminent earlier in the second-half: Pulisic and Reijnders have been receiving instructions.

06:44 PM BST

Look what you could have won

06:34 PM BST

Half-time: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

AC Milan have had 15 shots on goal, Newcastle have not even managed to force a corner yet let alone have a shot on target. Nick Pope had made five excellent saves inside the first 20 minutes of the game. It is fair to say that AC Milan have looked the far more threatening side. Whatever Eddie Howe’s game plan was before the game, it is not working. Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak and Jacob Murphy have looked lightweight and listless, while the midfield three of Sandro Tonali, Bruno and Sean Longstaff is constantly being out passed and ran through

The good news, Newcastle have not conceded and are still in the contest but this is a big Champions League reality check for them at the moment.

06:33 PM BST

44 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

The lesser-spotted air-backheel:

Rafael Leao
Leao opens up the Newcastle defence then falls over when trying to flick it in rather than shooting - AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Samu Chukwueze puts his hands on his head
Samu Chukwueze can barely believe his eyes - MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

06:31 PM BST

43 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle are enjoying plenty of possession but are incredibly vulnerable on the break when they give the ball away cheaply which Dan Burn has done a couple of times in the past five minutes.

06:30 PM BST

41 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Murphy slips inside down the inside right but can’t get av decent shot away.

06:29 PM BST

39 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Leao’s pratfall came at the end of a terrific, mesmerising dribble. Half Maradona, half Norman Wisdom.

Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori protests - MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Image

06:26 PM BST

37 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Leao breaks again and he’s like lightning. When he gets behind Trippier he stands up a cross to the far post. Giroud shapes to meet it with a bicycle kick but he gets his timing wrong as Newcastle hustle him.

06:24 PM BST

35 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Leao shows both sides of his engaging talent, twisting and driving towards the box from the inside left, sitting down defenders with his pace and feints, waiting for the right opportunity until the right opportunity is all but gone so he has to improvise, having found himself to the right of the penalty spot and the ball now caught under his feet. So he tries a backheel and falls flat on his face. But Chukwueze feeds on the scraps and works it through a thicket of Newcastle legs to Poebga who is also thwarted with his tepid side-foot shot when Murphy hacks it away.

06:21 PM BST

33 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

From the break Hernandez hares up the left, burns off his pursuers and heads to the whitewash. He pulls back a daisycutter to Giroud who can’t divert it inside the near post. Would have need double jointed angles to hook it in from there.

06:19 PM BST

31 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Longstaff wants a penalty when he runs down the inside right after good work from Trippier and Murphy near the top right corner. Trippier threads the pass through to Longstaff who has made a clever angled run but he feels a hand in the small of his back and hits the deck instead of getting his shot away. The referee tells him to get up and Milan break.

06:17 PM BST

29 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle free-kick on the left 45 yards out. Trippier squares it half the width of the pitch for Tonali who drives a diagonal to the left corner of the box. Loftus-Cheek heads it out for a throw.

AC Milan's Ruben Loftus-Cheek (left) and Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali
Tonali and his successor in the Milan No8 shirt, Loftus-Cheek, tangle - Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

06:14 PM BST

26 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Isak drops off towards the ball and that’s the trigger for Longstaff to make a third-man run beyond and into the box. The pass is just a wee but too hard and allows Maignan to race out to pounce before the Newcastle midfielder cam latch on to it.

06:13 PM BST

25 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Bruno drops deeper than Longstaff to win the ball back and knock it back to Schar who works it back up the Newcastle right. The captain feeds it up to Isak but he can’t free the flying Murphy because he has strayed offside. The delay allows Tomori to make the tackle that kills the move.

06:10 PM BST

23 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Poor pass from Gordon gives the ball straight to Loftus-Cheek and Tonali has to foul him to slow him down just inside his own half.

Nick Pope saves
Pope makes the best of half a dozen early saves - Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

06:08 PM BST

20 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Bruno needs to get into the game more. Both Gordon and Tonali are doing well up the left but Milan look lethal on the break.

06:08 PM BST

18 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Krunic decides to try his luck from 25 yards and shoots. Pope backpedals and claws it over. Krunic takes the corner on the left, whipping in an inswinger. Tomori runs interference giving Hernandez a free header that Pope again saves. Everything is straight at him so far. But they’ve needed him.

06:05 PM BST

15 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

They’re under the cosh for a couple of minutes now and Loftus-Cheek beats Burn and squares the ball into the box for Giroud to work an effort on goal. Pope to the rescue again. Corner ... from which Leao tries to feast on a bobbling ball at the back post but he can’t meet it properly.

06:01 PM BST

13 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Burn’s error makes a gift of the ball to Krunic who sweeps it infield to Pobega and he lets fly with real power but close enough to Pope for the keeper to reach at full-stretch and batter it away. Back comes the ball in from Leao on the left and Chukwueze meets it at the far post. Pretty much a point-blank block from Pope saves Newcastle.

05:59 PM BST

11 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Gordon has the pace to burn past Calabria down the outside and gets to the byline but his cutback is thumped away by Thiaw. Hernandez picks it up and starts to motor away so Longstaff brings him down. He escapes a booking but that’s two now from him and he’ll surely get done next foul.

05:57 PM BST

9 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Longstaff leaves his foot in when Leao threatens to burst past him. Nothing comes from the restart and Newcastle pass it around the back four until Schar hits a long diagonal over the top for Murphy to chase. The winger takes the ball in his stride after a decent first touch and Hernandez tugs his shirt outside the box. Murphy goes down inside the area but the referee didn’t see the infringement and waves play on despite Murphy re-enacting it for him through the universal language of mime, Lionel Blair style.

05:54 PM BST

7 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Tonali and Gordon go down the left and skirt the byline to cut the ball back, looking for Isak but Gordon just takes the ball out of play. Newcastle hound Maignan and his defenders when they try to play the goalkick short across the box.

05:52 PM BST

5 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

TNT Sport reports that it’s a touch under 30C inside San Siro so the players are going to suffer. Murphy and Trippier combine well on the right to work the ball into the box and Tomori knocks it out for a throw-in.

05:51 PM BST

3 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Leao is of course playing on the left up against Trippier and Murphy, not Samu Chukwueze. Hernandez is found by a crossfield pass wide on the left. He traps the ball and feeds it in to Leao who pulls the trigger from 25 yards and Pope easily gathers.

05:48 PM BST

1 min: Milan 0 Newcastle 0

Newcastle kick off and chip the ball long up the left for Gordon but Calabria wins the header and Hernandez clears up. Tonali shoves over Loftus-Cheek when the new signing from Chelsea tries to dribble past him.

05:46 PM BST

First a minute's silence

For the victims of the Morocco earthquake and Libyan flood.

05:44 PM BST

Bless him

They’ve all got their business faces on apart from Jacob Murphy who is positively beaming during the anthem.And why wouldn’t you?

Both sides in their home kits save for Newcastle switching to white shorts to avoid the clash. Rossoneri play bianconeri.

05:42 PM BST

The teams are walking out of the tunnel

Here we go then:

Die Meister
Die Besten 
Les grandes équipes 
The champions

05:35 PM BST

A fun afternoon after last night's savagery

The Newcastle United supporters, with many hundreds travelling without tickets for the game this season, have been making the most of the sunshine in Milan, mainly congregating along the canal in Navigli.

It is fair to say a lot of alcohol has been consumed but the atmosphere has been fun rather than intimidating.

Despite the savage attack on a group of Newcastle fans in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in which one 58-year-old fan was stabbed while his Newcastle shirt was cut off his back, the mood has been far more pleasant and jovial while the sun shone today.

Fans from both clubs have been mixing freely outside the stadium and travelled together to San Siro on trains and buses. It may be a different story at night again, but it was actually nice to see an English side in Europe enjoying the chance to mix with their hosts.

Let’s hope that stays the case.

05:33 PM BST

Old stamping ground

Sandro Tonali
Sandro Tonali admits on TNT Sport that he feels very emotional about playing at San Siro again - MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

As expected Sandro Tonali starts for Newcastle against his former club AC Milan and the Italy international was roared on to the pitch by both sets of supporters when he came out to warm up.

Tonali made sure he applauded all four sides of the ground and AC Milan’s ultras behind the goal responded by singing his name loudly.

He also appears to have had a shave for his homecoming game, removing the designer stubble to reveal his surprisingly boyish features. For a player who is still only 23-years-old he has already crammed a lot in.

Newcastle need a big performance from the midfielder this evening. It has been a  bit of a mixed bag so far from their most expensive summer signing. Tonali admitted at the pre-match press conference on Monday that he had found it very hard and difficult in his first few weeks on Tyneside, but feels much happier now. His inability to speak English has not helped him settle but that is something he is working hard to remedy.

05:20 PM BST

Eddie Howe speaks

We’re looking forward to it. It’s loud already and it’s not half full. It’s a big challenge for us but hopefully one we can rise to. Those lads with experience will be vital for us, those without experience we hope will attack it like we want them to. The enjoyment thing is very rare in management but that will come for me by performing at our best.

It’s a fantastic reward for such a loyal supporter base. They are increddible, home and away. They deserve this and we want to do it for them tonight.

We have to manage Callum’s load so Alexander and Sandro come back in. Jacob deserves his chance.

05:10 PM BST

Living it large in Milan

Newcastle fans bare their bellies
No shirts required - PA Photo

05:06 PM BST

TNT Sports is excited about its first Champions League tie

Reshmin Chowdhury is the host but not much else has changed from BT Sport – Joe Cole and Jermaine Jenas are in the studio. Just as BT Sport’s approach seemed to be very middle of the road and hardly innovative, this is continuity central: ‘Don’t scare the horses.’

04:59 PM BST

Your teams in black and white

Milan  Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, Hernandez; Loftus-Cheek, Krunic, Pobega; Chukwueze, Giroud, Leao. 
Substitutes  Sportiello (gk), Mirante (gk), Adli, Pulisic, Reijnders, Jovic, Okafor, Kjaer, Florenzi, Musah, Bartesaghi. 

Newcastle  Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Tonali; Murphy, Isak, Gordon. 
Substitutes Karius (gk), Harris (gk), Dummett, Lascelles, Wilson, Targett, Barnes, Hall, Livramento, Almiron, Anderson, Miley. 

Referee Jose Maria Sanchez (Spain)

04:52 PM BST

Jacob Murphy has played five minutes of first team football this season

It’s a big call but I suppose he gives Kieran Trippier a bit more protection though given Christian Pulisic is not playing and they have gone for the blistering pace of Samuel Chukwueze who can cut in on his left, he’s going to need a midfielder to help out too.

04:37 PM BST

Toon make three changes

Tonali, Murphy and Isak replace Anderson, Barnes and Wilson:

04:36 PM BST

Milan make three changes from the derby defeat

Tomori, Pobega and Chukwueze come in for Kjaer, Pulsiic and Reinders:

03:39 PM BST

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03:35 PM BST

Preview: No alla violenza

Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of the Champions League Group F game at San Siro between AC Milan and Newcastle United. First off, let us condemn yet another incident in which a football fan has been stabbed on an away day trip to Italy. For more than 20 years there have been stories of slashings, frequently from behind, and stabbings in the 24 hours before games in Rome, Naples, Turin and Milan and still it goes on. Some people who do not travel say trouble can always easily be avoided but whatever precautions you take, bar not going out, being jumped and stabbed in the back can happen to any individual or group. Ambushes, random or planned, catch even the most cautious supporter by surprise as they are designed to do. It is Italy’s shame and Uefa’s disgrace that it keeps happening.

Right, Newcastle return to European football for the first time since their Europa League quarter-final defeat by Benfica in 2013, and the Champions League proper since a 2-0 defeat by Barcelona at St James’ in the second group stage in 2003. They come into the match after a 1-0 victory over Brentford when Eddie Howe stiffened his midfield with the introduction of Sean Longstaff and opted for Callum Wilson and Harvey Barnes in his front three instead of Alexander Isak and Miguel Almirón. They looked far more solid but it does pose a question about Sandro Tonali starting against his old club here.

Milan had been coping pretty well without him, switching to 4-3-3 and using Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s propensity for dribbling, the box-to-box dynamism of Tijjani Reinders and Rade Krunic’s probing in midfield. But it all came horribly unstuck for them in Saturday night’s derby when they were gubbed 5-1. “Today’s result doesn’t take anything away from the quality and depth of my squad,” Stefano Pioli said to general derision after the match. Against a team that still relies heavily on Rafael Leao for their spark and Olivier Giroud to keep rolling along, Newcastle have more than enough to exploit any further wobbles.