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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Pulisic and Giroud fail to lead AC Milan to victory as... Chelsea feel vindicated


By Alessandro Schiavone at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund


Borussia Dortmund 0-0 AC Milan


Christian Pulisic had a night to forget, failing to inspire Milan to victory against former club Borussia Dortmund.


It should have been his game and his night, with Milan fans expecting a moment of magic by the American to stun the ground that he called home between 2015 and 2019. The same turf where legendary poacher Filippo Inzaghi's knockout punch was enough for Milan to secure a 1-0 win back in 2002. That was as huge a win as they came as the club went on to win their 6th Champions League six months later. Different times, different football, different players and different... luck.


The ex-Chelsea winger had it all laid out to make this his night. He had it served up to him on a plate to emulate Dortmund Schreck Superpippo.


Yet he failed to make the most of a gilt-edged opportunity to turn Milan's dominance into a lead. Slipped through by Rafa Leão, he hastily got his shot away, firing a poor effort straight at goalkeeper Gregor Köbel in the second half.


That would have been Milan's much-deserved breakthrough after a barrage of chances were wasted either side of half-time. Other than that he didn't offer much going forward and was kept quiet throughout by Bensebaini, Özcan and company.


Remarkably unfazed by attacking the goal just in front of the famous Yellow Wall, the Rossoneri were the better of the two teams.


But Giroud, who Arsenal and Chelsea dispensed with without ever regretting it, looked like a fading force once again in the 37th minute. After latching on to a brilliant headed ball forward by Calabria, he first did well to bring the ball down. But after doing the hardest part by sitting keeper Könel down, he fired over. Either side of the Swiss keeper it would have been the opener. That was poor from the Frenchman.


With Tommaso Pobega deputising for the injured Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Milan lacked a player who could drive forward with the ball and make unexpected entries into the box. Another of Chelsea's rejects who is flourishing in northern Italy, Fikayo Tomori held his own alongside Malick Thiaw at the back.


But after frustratingly wasting too many chances already in the group stage opener against Newcastle a fornight ago, Milan's luck was out yet again in the final third. Hence, Theo Hernandez sent a flying header over after being picked out by Leão while Samuel Chukwueze failed to convert a one-on-one with the keeper and Reijnders dragged the resulting rebound wide.


Yet Dortmund also had chances to win with Bensebaini and Füllkrug denied by Mike Maignan and Donyell Malen drilling a potent effort just east of the Frenchman's goal.


The Rossoneri also needed to rely on some dirty defensive work by Chukwueze and Tomori with the pair blocking ominous efforts by Emre Can and Füllkrug respectively in the dying minutes.


In the end the honours were even between two sides with eight Champions League winners' medals between them.


Perhaps in this story the only winners, if we really scrape the bottom of the barrel, are Chelsea.


Despite having 99 problems of their own, don't expect anyone to feel any nostalgia towards Pulisic and Giroud after their German fiasco.



Line-ups


AC Milan

(4-3-3) Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, Hernandez; Musah, Reijnders, Pobega; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao. Coach: Pioli


Borussia Dortmund


(4-2-3-1) Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini; Ozacan, Emre Can; Malen, Reus, Brandt; Fullkrug. Coach: Terzic.





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