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AC Milan 1-0 Tottenham: What Were The Key Talking Points As Spurs Suffer First-Leg Frustration At The San Siro?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 15 Feb 2023

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Opening their Champions League knockout stage adventure with a flat display on Tuesday night, Tottenham slumped to a first-leg 1-0 loss away at AC Milan.

While Antonio Conte’s side might have made the trip to the San Siro smelling the chance to pick up an early advantage on foreign soil, Spurs were left stunned in the opening seven minutes as Brahim Diaz put the Italian giants ahead.

Failing to pick up any momentum over the weekend as they were hit with a shock 4-1 drumming at the hands of Leicester, Tottenham once again find themselves under growing pressure.

Although AC Milan might have opened Tuesday’s showdown at the San Siro in the midst of an extended wobble, the Rossoneri claimed what could turn out to be a crucial boost here.

Sat in pole position to extend on their Champions League adventure when they make the trip to north London on March 8th for their second-leg meeting, we have taken a look at the key talking points from Milano.

Tottenham are at their unstable worst

While Tottenham might have gained a string of plaudits after claiming a 1-0 victory against Manchester City on February 5th, Spurs have come crashing back down to earth in some style.

Suffering a nightmare collapse away at relegation outsiders Leicester last weekend as they were eventually hit with a 4-1 drumming at the King Power, Conte’s side have publically struggled with their consistency this season.

Knowing that they face a real uphill struggle if they’re to clinch back-to-back top-four finish come May, the former Chelsea boss still finds some pressure on his shoulders in north London.

Already suffering consecutive defeats for the second time since opening 2023, Tottenham will know that they were lucky to have only left the San Siro chasing a 1-0 deficit.

With there some growing concerns over Conte’s pragmatic approach, Spurs have now failed to bag more than a single strike in just one of their last eight appearances across all formats.

A crucial week for Pioli

While it might be Tottenham’s toothless display that steals most of the headlines on Tuesday night, AC Milan will know just how important their first-leg result could prove to be come next month.

More than deserving of Tuesday’s victory at the San Siro and knowing that they could have potentially left with more to show for their troubles, the Rossoneri have found a much-needed boost.

Marking their return from the World Cup break in the midst of a public nightmare and enduring a remarkable seven-match winless run, it was no secret that Stefano Pioli has been fighting for his job.

Receiving a backlash from the San Siro support following a woeful 5-2 drumming at home against Sassuolo on January 29th, AC will be desperate to use their performance here as something to build on.

Opening Tuesday’s showdown on home soil after claiming an essential 1-0 win at home against Torino last weekend, Pioli’s side should be relishing a trip to north London on March 8th.

What’s going on with Son?

While Harry Kane might have continued on a stellar free-scoring run on either side of the World Cup break, Son Heung-min has failed to find any kind of stability this season.

Although the South Korean ace might have been publically backed by Conte over recent months, Son has failed to repay that faith and has not found his usual chemistry with Kane.

While the one-time Bayer Leverkusen starlet might have shared last year’s Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, Son has bagged just four top-flight strikes this time around.

Failing to offer Tottenham any kind of clinical edge on Tuesday night, the 30-year-old has also drawn a blank in seven of his previous eight appearances across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to January 4th.

Although Son might have bagged an FA Cup brace away at Championship outfit Preston last month, he has not been able to use that as a platform to build on.

Match Report

AC Milan: Tatarusanu, Kalulu, Kjaer, Thiaw, Hernandez, Tonali, Krunic, Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao, Giroud

Subs: Rebic, Pobega, Ketelaere, Messias

Tottenham: Forster, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Perisic, Sarr, Skipp, Royal. Kulusevski, Son, Kane

Subs: Davies, Danjuma, Richarlison

Goals: Diaz (7′)

Yellow Cards: AC Milan: Tonali, Hernandez – Tottenham: Dier, Romero

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Sandro Scharer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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