Friday, October 20, 2017

AC Milan 1 Real Betis 2: Andre Silva opens account in defeat

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Aug 2017

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Andre Silva scored his first AC Milan goal but he could not prevent his side from going down a last-gasp 2-1 defeat against Real Betis in an entertaining friendly.

Forward Silva, signed from Porto, netted from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left of the match in Catania, having earlier had a goal ruled out by a VAR review and been denied by some inspired goalkeeping from Dani Gimenez.

His intervention from 12 yards came eight minutes after Betis substitute Fabian had scored with a magnificent strike.

But Betis won it in the last minute when VAR again worked in their favour, penalising Hakan Calhanoglu for a handball that allowed substitute Antonio Sanabria to score from the spot.

Milan have already played two competitive matches this season in the Europa League and will hope to bounce back when they face Shkendija in the play-off round next week.

Betis, meanwhile, will follow this match with a game against Milan’s city rivals Inter on Saturday as they continue to prepare for the new LaLiga season, which they will open with a daunting away match against Barcelona on August 20.

Milan made a fast start with Silva seeing a shot blocked, before having a goal disallowed by the VAR system.

Silva thought he had scored by converting an instinctive finish after Luca Antonelli had helped on Calhanoglu’s free-kick, with the offside flag staying down. However, Betis players appealed and a video review saw the strike ruled out.

The first shot on target saw Betis goalkeeper Gimenez stay big to keep out a drive from Milan’s Davide Calabria and he then made a tremendous fingertip save to keep out Silva early in the second half after Ignazio Abate had set the Portugal striker up on the edge of the area.

Leonardo Bonucci, Milan’s captain, also tested the Betis ‘keeper with a header, but it was the Spanish side that took the lead on 67 minutes.

Nine minutes after coming on, Fabian controlled a pass from Joaquin and sent a wonderful 25-yard strike into the top corner, leaving Antonio Donnarumma with no chance.

But Milan responded when Calhanoglu’s corner was headed over by Silva, only for the referee to have spotted a foul from Zouhair Feddal on Gustavo Gomez.

A penalty was awarded despite angry Betis protests and Silva finally got the better of Gimenez, sending him the wrong way from the spot.

Both sides had chances to win it, Joaquin inches away with a curling strike, while Silva headed another precise Calhanoglu delivery straight at Gimenez.

Just as the match looked like it would end level, there was more controversy in the final minute. 

Joaquin’s free-kick deflected off the wall and was brilliantly saved by Donnarumma, only for VAR to decide the man in the wall, Calhanoglu, had handled.

Sanabria then stepped up to send Donnarumma, brother of first-choice Gianluigi, the wrong way, as Betis claimed a surprise victory.

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