Antonio Conte must be fuming! AC Milan gain Champions League last-16 edge over flat Tottenham in first leg

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Harry Kane Brahim Diaz Theo Hernandez Antonio Conte split
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Brahim Diaz scored the game's only goal as AC Milan celebrated a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Tuesday night.
  • Diaz scored only goal early on
  • Spurs generated very little
  • Milan could've tripled lead

TELL ME MORE: Milan didn't look like a side who had recorded just one win in their last eight matches as they flew out the blocks at San Siro. Diaz gave the hosts a deserved early lead when he reacted quickest to knock in the rebound of a fine save from Fraser Forster. Tottenham's reaction was nowhere near enough, with little by the way of clear-cut chances until the offside flag saved Milan's blushes in two tense goalmouth scrambles just before the break.

Antonio Conte's side have become known for salvaging results in the second half of games so far this campaign, but there was no sign of that here. Their chances in the second leg may be hampered thanks to Eric Dier's suspension following his second-half yellow card. It could have been a lot worse for Spurs, though, as Milan should have put the tie out of sight late on. Substitute Charles De Ketelaere and defender Malick Thiaw headed wide from close range in quick succession, giving Conte's side a fighting chance to claw back a result in three week's time.

THE MVP: Diaz will get the headlines for his goal, but Milan were a constant threat down their left-hand side, despite their attacks dwindling as the game wore on. Theo Hernandez in particular offered constant energy and tenacity all game, and played a vital part in Milan's only goal. The full-back used his strength to beat Christian Romero to the ball with ease, and his incision helped force a save from Foster that led to Diaz's rebound. Hernandez's link up with Rafael Leao was back to its fluid self, and he looks to be Stefano Pioli's focal point of attack going into the second leg.

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THE BIG LOSER: Romero missed Spurs' dismal 4-1 defeat at Leicester on Saturday and his rust was on display for all to see on Tuesday night. Hernandez had his number all game, most importantly in the build up for Milan's goal when he breezed past Romero like he simply wasn't there. The centre-back cleaned out Sandro Tonali shortly after the break and was arguably lucky to only see yellow - his seventh of the season - with the dire challenge an accurate reflection of just how off the pace he was all game. How frustrating it must have been for Conte to watch.


Brahim Diaz goal AC Milan vs Tottenham 2022-23

Brahim Diaz celebration Rafael Leao AC Milan vs Tottenham 2022-23

Harry Kane sad Tottenham AC Milan Champions League 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Milan have the advantage after celebrating their first ever win over Tottenham, but Pioli's side will be left regretting not putting the match to bed before the return fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on March 8.