Pioli's Milan: Breaking English Curse
AC Milan broke their long-standing struggle against English clubs in European away matches with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in their final Champions League Group F game. The Serie A side, seven-time champions, came from behind, securing the win with Samuel Chukwueze's brilliant late goal, marking their first away victory against an English club in European competition since 2005.
However, the triumph held a bittersweet note as Milan finished third in the group, securing a spot in the Europa League. A potential last-16 spot eluded them as Paris St Germain's 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund allowed PSG to advance due to a better head-to-head record.
Expressing disappointment, Milan's coach Stefano Pioli acknowledged the tough group and felt they deserved more. Despite this setback, he commended the team's performance and pledged to give their best in the Europa League.
Former Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic played a pivotal role, equalizing for Milan in the hour mark. Pulisic, the first American to score for three different teams in the Champions League, expressed mixed emotions and highlighted the team's chance to win a significant competition in the Europa League.
Newcastle, owned by Saudi Arabia, had a dream start leading 1-0, with PSG trailing in Dortmund, but fatigue and a substantial injury list impacted their performance in the second half.
Manager Eddie Howe, reflecting on Newcastle's first Champions League campaign in 20 years, emphasized the lesson learned regarding squad value and limitations due to injuries. Despite missing out on the last 16, Howe sees the experience as motivation, emphasizing the need to use setbacks as fuel for future success.
While missing out on the Europa League may be disappointing, Howe views it as an opportunity to refocus on the Premier League, striving for consistency and aiming to qualify for the next year's Champions League. The setback serves as motivation for Newcastle to bounce back and perform at their best in the domestic league.