Erratic AC Milan missed a hatful
chances and survived several scares before running out 2-0
winners over rank outsiders BATE Borisov in the Champions League
An opportunist strike from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a
spectacular effort from midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng left
Milan with seven points from three games after a wildly
unpredictable Group H match.
Milan could have had a hatful of goals, yet should have
found themselves behind against the side whose full name is
Borisov Automobile and Tractor Electronics and who have still to
win a Champions League match in nine attempts.
With Milan alternating moments of inspiration and
sloppiness, the game turned on a one-minute spell in the first
A dreadful defensive slip-up by Milan left Borisov playmaker
Renan Bressan with a clear run on goal in the 32nd minute but
the Brazilian took too long over his shot and Christian Abbiati
was able to turn it wide.
"You have to make the most of those chances, you only get
one against teams like Milan," Bressan told reporters.
One minute later, Milan went ahead when Ignazio Abate's
dangerous low cross was only partially cleared and Ibrahimovic
raced in to rifle home a first-time shot.
The volatile Swede had nearly given Milan a spectacular
start when he saw goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor off his line and
tried to catch him out from 40 metres, his effort going just
He also wasted another chance when he nonchalantly
side-footed over the bar after Antonio Cassano's floated cross
found him on the right.
Alberto Aquilani also hit the foot of the post in a lively
The goal seemed to make Milan overconfident as Ibrahimovic
tried to flick the ball over a defender's head and missed
another chance when he clipped the ball delicately across the
face of the goal from Cassano's incisive pass.
Borisov, who finished with three draws and three defeats in
their only previous Champions League campaign in 2008/09, were
glad to hear the half-time whistle.
The Belarus champions for the last five seasons came out
with renewed hope and they briefly controlled the match early in
the second half, the ineffective Mateja Kezman wasting their
best chance on the break when his shot was blocked.
Milan, who had 24 shots but only five on target, continued
to perform in fits and starts.
Ibrahimovic seemed to sum it all up just before the hour
when he did everything right, cutting inside and making space
for his shot, only to sky a wild effort high into the stands.
Robinho's introduction for Cassano gave Milan more life and
he nearly made an immediate impact, cutting inside and firing
Milan finally settled the game when a long cross-field pass
found Boateng and the Ghanaian - who somehow escaped a yellow
card for kicking an opponent who was on the ground - scored
with a rasping 25-yard shot which went in off the underside of
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