AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid: Live Player Ratings for Both Sides

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2014

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 22:  Kaka of AC Milan in action during the TIM Cup match between AC Milan and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 22, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Bleacher Report's UEFA Champions League coverage continued on Wednesday with the crunch clash between AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

At the break the scoreline remained locked at 0-0, with Milan going closest through Kaka on three occasions, two of which saw Thibaut Courtois tip his goal-bound efforts onto the woodwork.

The only goal of the match came just eight minutes from time, as Diego Costa powerfully headed in from close range to give Atletico Madrid a priceless away goal and a 1-0 lead.

Milan Player Ratings
PlayerHTFT
Abbiati66
De Sciglio6n/a
Bonera77
Rami67
Emanuelson66
De Jong77
Essien77
Poli65
Taarabt66
Kaka88
Balotelli77
b/r
Atletico Madrid Player Ratings
PlayerHTFT
Courtois98
Juanfran77
Godin77
Miranda67
Insua77
Suarez67
Gabi65
Koke65
Garcia77
Turan65
Costa67
b/r

 

First half analysis

Atleti started quickly and put Milan immediately on the back foot by way of overloading down both channels. Insua and Juanfran were quick to get forward down their respective wings, pinning Milan's unbalanced midfield back and looking to deliver short crosses from outside the penalty area.

After they survived those early scares, though, Milan have looked the more dangerous with Balotelli pulling wide to both channels and a succession of midfielders looking to break through the middle.

Kaka has been the biggest attacking threat on the pitch with his quick movement around the edge of the penalty area and ability to pick up promising positions on the ball. In Courtois, though, Atleti have one of the game's most impressive reactionary goalkeepers and his reflexes have kept his side level.

 

Second half analysis

In a tight game, the midfield battle was not really dominated by one side or the other and much of the second half was scrappy and littered with fouls.

Aside from a few individual moments from the likes of Taarabt or Raul Garcia, there was very little quality in either final third. Movement into space was at a premium and neither goalkeeper had much to do.

Diego Costa's excellent header was the first real moment of improvisation or genuine effort in front of goal in the second 45 and he got his rewards with that away goal.