Champions League

Balotelli goal rescues Milan

2013-10-01 23:22
Mario Balotelli (Getty Images)

Amsterdam - Mario Balotelli has scored a penalty in the fourth minute of added time to earn AC Milan a 1-1 draw with Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

WRAP: Champions League

Balotelli won the penalty in controversial circumstances after grappling with substitute centre-back Mike Van der Hoorn inside the area and his conversion from 12 yards earned the Rossoneri a draw that their second-half display deserved.

The finish was cruel on Ajax, however, as they had only taken the lead in the 90th minute of a game that had previously appeared destined to end goalless.

Then, young central defender Stefano Denswil rose unmarked five yards out to head home a corner from the right flank to leave the Dutch champions on the brink of a precious win.

Instead, the draw suits Milan, who are clear in second place on four points behind Barcelona, 1-0 winners away to Celtic in the group's other game.

Ajax now face a vital double-header against Celtic while Milan will know they must do far better when they take on familiar foes Barcelona next.

Both Ajax and Milan can boast a glorious past, with 11 European Cups between them and two previous meetings in the final of the competition, Milan winning 4-1 in 1969 and Ajax gaining revenge with a 1-0 victory in the 1995 showpiece in Vienna.

Current Ajax coach Frank de Boer played in the latter game but these days he is unable to keep his best players for long enough to build a team that can properly compete on the European stage, while Milan are a shadow of their former selves.

The Rossoneri travelled to the Dutch capital on the back of a slow start to the Serie A season and without the likes of Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy, although Mario Balotelli was able to play as he is serving a domestic suspension.

However, Massimiliano Allegri's men ignored the temptation to push forward and look for Balotelli in the first half, instead ceding possession and inviting their hosts to make the play.

As a result, Ajax utterly dominated, but a Viktor Fischer shot that flashed just wide and a Lerin Duarte free-kick that was tipped over by Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal were as close as they came to taking the lead into half-time.

And predictably, Milan - who beat Dutch opposition in PSV Eindhoven to qualify for the group stage - were much improved after the restart.

They finally produced an attempt on goal in the 49th minute, Kevin Constant cutting the ball back for captain Riccardo Montolivo to shoot, but his effort was well saved by Jasper Cillessen.

Balotelli had a free-kick deflected just over moments later before seeing a terrific curling strike tipped onto the woodwork by Cillessen just after the hour mark.

Ajax, whose starting line-up had an average age of just 23.5, visibly tired and spent the closing stages penned back inside their own half but they roused themselves and almost won it at the very end.

They had an effort disallowed for offside and Siem de Jong was denied by Abbiati before Denswil netted what looked like the winner, only for Balotelli to rescue Milan, not for the first time.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.