UEFA Champions League Group C wrap: Malaga edge ailing Milan
By Football News
Malaga's perfect start to their first Champions League campaign has continued with a 1-0 win over AC Milan thanks to a goal from Joaquin.
The Spanish winger, who missed a first-half penalty, made amends in the 64th minute when he ran onto a perfectly chipped pass from Manuel Iturra to slot the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
The victory takes Malaga to nine points from three games and clear at the top of Group C in the UEFA Champions League, with Milan second on four points, while Zenit St Petersburg (three) and Anderlecht (one) are further back.
Malaga, facing an Italian side for the first time in their history, carried the momentum of the first half into the second period, as the performances of Joaquin and Manuel Iturra in particular kept Milan on the back foot.
The Serie A side slowly grew into the game and they managed to fashion the first real chance of the match on the half-hour mark, as Urby Emanualson broke free down the right and teed up Stephan El Shaarawy inside the area, who fired over from a great position.
Malaga hit back soon after, as a slick combination between Joaquin and Isco resulted in the latter bending a shot inches over the bar from the edge of the box.
With two minutes to go until half-time, the home side were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead, after Kevin Constant tugged down Jesus Gamez just inside the area to concede a penalty.
Joaquin took responsibility from 12 yards out but could only clip the crossbar.
Malaga continued to shade it after the break and Javier Saviola nearly had a one-on-one after latching onto Isco's brilliant cutback, but a superb tackle by Daniele Bonera halted him at the final moment.
The home side broke the deadlock almost 20 minutes into the second half, with Iturra chipping a first-time pass over Milan's defence and Joaquin producing a neat finish.
In the other Group C clash, Zenit St Petersburg defeated Anderlecht 1-0 thanks to a penalty from Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Anderlecht's Bram Nuytinck conceded the penalty with a foul on Aleksandr Anyukov and Kerzhakov sent the visitors' goalkeeper Silvio Proto the wrong way to score the only goal of the game.