The UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg between Atletico Madrid and AC Milan takes place in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night.
At the break, an entertaining match sees Atletico leading 2-1, 3-1 on aggregate, with Milan having work to do to stay in the tie and the competition. Diego Costa scored early on before Kaka equalised, with a deflected Arda Turan volley the difference at half-time.
|Atleti Player Ratings|
|Milan Player Ratings|
Quick first-half analysis
Atletico started at warp speed, pressing quickly extremely high up the pitch and got their rewards with an early goal as a result of that tactic. After it was won on the right touchline, Atleti shifted the ball infield and into the area within two passes and Diego Costa scored. Several similar instances did not yield a potential killer second goal.
Milan did well to work themselves back into the game, with Kaka at the centre of most of their most dangerous moves—and he might have scored a second header just after he notched the equaliser. Essien and de Jong have been outworked and out-passed in the centre of the pitch, with Taarabt and Poli bystanders ahead of them at times.
Balotelli is offering little in the final third, not making any runs behind Godin and co. and all too static to let the attacking midfielders run off him. Atletico's late flurry at the end perhaps didn't warrant a half-time lead, but they'll need to show a more resolute side after the break to hold this lead this time.
Quick second-half analysis
Atletico stepped things up a gear after the break and, quite simply, AC Milan couldn't cope; they simply aren't on the same playing field as a team and their sad exit from the Champions League could be their last appearance in the competition for a while.
Comparing Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli gives something of an indication as to the differences between the clubs; one striker on form, confident, powerful and consistent, the other an utterly anonymous also-ran who contributed nothing of note. Milan created nothing for their front man, but he gave nothing back either.
Koke, Turan and Garcia worked tirelessly at both ends and they essentially controlled the game after half-time, pressing and closing out spaces and still having a big impact on the ball and in attack.
Atletico were more than worthy winners, with only Kaka having any real impact on the game for Milan.
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