Milan vs. Málaga  1 - 1


Pato inspired by AC Milan fans

7 November 2012 03:30

Alexandre Pato has lauded the 'fantastic' AC Milan support in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Malaga in the Champions League.

The Rossoneri faithful have endured a frustrating time this season having seen many of the club's top stars leave, while results this campaign have not been to their expectations.

However, a 5-1 win at the weekend against Chievo in the Serie A was followed up with this result at San Siro on Tuesday, and the Brazilian believes the fans' unwavering support of the side has played a big role in their revival.

"The Milanisti were fantastic tonight, and they supported us until the end," Pato told Sky Sport Italia.

"We need the fans to be close to us, as coming to the stadium and hearing their roar gives you an extra gear.

"We're trying to do our best for the fans, but sometimes it doesn't go that well, but we still need the fans."

The strike was the Brazilian's first goal for his club this season but he revealed that he had felt under no pressure to get off the mark.

"Is it a weight off my shoulders to have scored again? No, I'm relaxed and I just need to play," he said.

"I'm coming back from an injury. I want to help my team-mates and always do my best when playing for the team."

The Rossoneri sit 11th in Serie A while they are also only two points clear of the bottom of their Champions League group, but Pato believes they are now starting to find the correct formula.

"I think that we're improving, and we've have found a good tactical set-up which is also more offensive," he said.

"We're playing fairly well and we're just lacking the victories. I dedicate the goal to those who are close to me."


Pellegrini dismisses Milan rumours

7 November 2012 02:40

Manuel Pellegrini has laughed off reports linking him with a move to AC Milan after guiding Malaga to the Champions League knock-out stages.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri is under pressure at San Siro following a disappointing start to the club's domestic and European campaigns.

Pellegrini is rumoured to be among the candidates to replace Allegri should he be sacked, with former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola and Zenit St Petersburg's Luciano Spalletti also reportedly in contention.

Malaga drew 1-1 at Milan on Tuesday to secure passage to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

And rather than be tempted with a switch to Serie A, Pellegrini insisted his sole focus remains with Malaga's fortunes.

"I want to do well at Malaga," Pellegrini told Sky Sport Italia.

"I want to get back up the Liga table where we are in eighth place, as to play in the Champions League next season too we have to do well domestically. Of course, we hope to do our best in this European journey."

Focussing on the game as a whole, Pellegrini praised his players' attitude and resolve in the face of what he called 'a great team', before revealing the game panned out as he expected, with the Spanish side gaining an early foothold before sitting back and dictating terms.

"It was important to achieve qualification tonight and especially in such a world famous stadium against a great team," he said.

"We spoke with the players and decided it was best to score the goal in the first half, then after the break we controlled well until (Alexandre) Pato's goal. We knew just what quality he has and what he can do.

"Milan were able to control the tempo of the game, but they did not create that many opportunities."

Allegri insisted his team had work to do despite showing signs of improvement in recent weeks.

"We need to be more precise, we need to improve because sometimes we still make mistakes. However, the team are already doing better and we went for the win tonight," Allegri said.

"All Champions League games are difficult. We had to keep a high tempo but of course when you play every three days that's not easy.

"The players had a good game and even though we made some mistakes in the second half I can't complain.

"We have to do better in Serie A and fight until the last game of the group in Europe."


Wary Saviola relishing Milan test

6 November 2012 15:54

Malaga striker Javier Saviola has urged his side to adopt caution in their Champions League meeting with AC Milan on Tuesday.

Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga are undefeated in the European competition this term having won each of their Group C matches without conceding a goal.

"(Milan) must get a result," Argentine Saviola said. "They are desperate and need the points. It will be an open game, a beautiful one with many opportunities."

The 30-year-old Saviola stressed he will not underestimate the Italian giants, despite his side defeating Milan in last month's corresponding fixture.

"Teams normally go through phases. We knew that it was a good time (to play Milan) because they arrived in Malaga in a moment of weakness," Saviola said.

"We're afraid that they could wake up, especially now in the return fixture on home soil."


Malaga out to monster Milan

6 November 2012 09:10

Malaga's Manuel Pellegrini said his side will go all out against AC Milan to ensure qualification to the Champions League knockout stage.

The Spanish side have been the surprise packet of the Champions League's Group C, leading Milan, Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht with nine points from three games.

Pellegrini's side have scored seven times and are the only team yet to concede a goal in the competition's group stage.

And Pellegrini said his team's approach would change little for the trip to the Milan's intimidating San Siro stadium.

"What I am sure is if a team is looking for a draw, that team loses," Pellegrini said.

"I have no doubt about that, and also this team is not created to go for a draw, it has never thought in a draw (kind of mentality).

"We will play our game from the beginning, to get the three points, to secure the qualification in here.

"Our main goal is not holding the result, but trying to beat Milan playing football.

Seven-time European champions Milan appear to have arrested their poor form from early in the season having defeated Chievo 5-1 in the Serie A on Saturday, but Pellegrino is unfazed by their opponent's history in the competition.

"I think the tradition and history that Milan has in the Champions League is not gifted, they gained it through many games at home and away, and Malaga has less history, but the history is not playing," he said.

"We showed in Malaga that we are a team, which can try to be competitive in the group stage, as maybe most people thought we were just participating.

"But we find we have nine points, and tomorrow the history won't be playing, it will be Milan against Malaga."

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri stopped short of declaring Tuesday a must-win game despite trailing Malaga by five points although he conceded the Spanish side already had one foot in the next round.

"Tomorrow's match is going to be difficult, but it isn't the decisive match to qualify. I believe this round will be decided only in the last match," Allegri said.

"According to the matches to play and the points we, Zenit and Malaga have, I believe Malaga has more chances to qualify, but at the same time everything is still open.

"In order to win this round, we should win three matches and this may also not be enough.

"As regards to qualification, the negative result in Malaga has decreased our chances to rank first, but if we manage to win tomorrow, everything would be solved."

"Compared to the match in Malaga (AC Milan lost 1-0), now we're in very good physical conditions. In addition to this, AC Milan is gaining more and more confidence. It isn't easy to play at San Siro stadium."


Champions League Group C preview: Malaga set to cement knockout spot

5 November 2012 07:54

Malaga will face their sternest test of the Champions League season so far when they travel to Italy to take on AC Milan on Tuesday.

The Spanish side are yet to concede a goal in what is their first season in the competition and lead Group C by five points after going undefeated in their opening three games.

A win at the San Siro will ensure Manuel Pellegrini's side progress to the knockout round in what would be a huge boost to the financially-stricken club.

Winger Joaquin was the hero in the corresponding fixture on matchday three, scoring a second half winner after missing an early penalty to hand his side a 1-0 win.

However, Malaga will go into the game off the back of their first loss in five matches after they were beaten at home 2-1 by Rayo Vallecano in the La Liga on the weekend in a result which saw them concede third spot to Real Madrid.

And Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini says his side will be out to chase all three points against Mian.

"What I am sure is if a team is looking for a draw, that team lose," he said.

"I have no doubt about that, and also this team is not created to go for a draw, it has never thought in a draw.

"We will play our game from the beginning, to get the three points, to secure the qualification in here. Our main goal is not holding the result, but trying to beat Milan playing football.

AC Milan have endured a less than impressive start to their Euro campaign with Massimo Allegri's men stuck on four points from three games.

After an opening day draw with Anderlecht and a 3-2 win over Zenit St Petersburg, Milan were defeated at Malaga.

Domestically, Milan are languishing in 11th place on the Serie A table, 14 points behind leaders Juventus. But an emphatic 5-1 win over Chievo on Saturday will give Milan hope they can turn their season around and they will go into the tie full of confidence.

Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri believes Group C will go right down to the wire.

"Tomorrow's match is going to be difficult, but it isn't the decisive match to qualify," he said.

"I believe this group will only be decided in the last match. According to the matches to play and the points we, Zenit and Malaga have, I believe Malaga has more chances to qualify, but at the same time everything is still open."

Meanwhile, third-placed Zenit St Petersburg will travel to Anderlecht without star striker Hulk after the former Porto man sustained a thigh injury in his side's 2-1 win over Rostov on Friday.

26-year-old Hulk, who was bought for 60 million euros in the summer, is a pivotal part of Zenit's attack and will be sorely missed by Igor Korneev's side.

Zenit are one point behind AC Milan and will be hoping to win without their record signing to ensure they give themselves the best chance of moving out of the group stage.

They face an Anderlecht side who have not won a Champions League home game since 2003 and simply must win in order to keep their slim chances of progression alive.

The Belgian champions are currently second on the Pro League table and come into the tie after two significant victories over Gent and Mechelen in their past two league games.

However, John van den Brom's men are yet to record a win in this year's Champions League, with a 0-0 draw with AC Milan on matchday one providing them with their only point so far.

The Belgian side, who have yet to score in the Champions League this season, will have to be at their best to get anything out of the game.

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
4 28 +26 55
5 29 +30 54
6 28 +9 50
7 28 +12 44
8 28 +4 44

La Liga table

# Team MP D P
16 29 -19 31
17 29 -18 27
18 29 -37 21
19 29 -34 20
20 29 -29 14
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