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|
|Atletico Madrid Player Ratings|
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.