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UEFA Champions League

San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza) (ATT 38,358) 18th September 2007 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: M Riley

AC Milan AC Milan vs Benfica Benfica

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Benfica 1

Milan start with win

Champions too much for Benfica

By Andrew Scurr.   Last Updated: 18/09/07 10:56pm

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Inzaghi: Celebrates second

Inzaghi: Celebrates second

Milan began their UEFA Champions League defence with a 2-1 win over Benfica at the San Siro.

Goals from Andrea Pirlo and Filippo Inzaghi gave the defending champions a half-time lead that never looked in danger against a fairly unambitious Benfica side.

Nuno Gomes did pull one back for the visitors deep into stoppage time but the goal was nothing more than a consolation.

Opening goal

Milan made the best possible start to the 2007/08 campaign when Pirlo put them ahead inside the opening 10 minutes. The Italy midfielder curled a free-kick towards the top corner which Quim was unable to keep out.

Inzaghi flashed a shot wide after being found at the far post by Massimo Oddo on 13 minutes, before Ambrosini's clever flick forced Quim into action.

Former Milan midfielder Rui Costa tried his luck from 30 yards but was off target and then moments later made Dida make his first save of the evening from slightly closer.

Benfica should have been level midway through the first half when Oscar Cardozo somehow hit the post with the goal gaping after being picked out by a pinpoint cross from Angel Di Maria.

Milan made Benfica pay for not taking that chance in the 24th minute as a quick break resulted in Kaka finding Pirlo and the Italian midfielder crossed for Inzaghi to blast a volley past Quim and finish off a great move.

Benfica created chances before the break, with Di Maria shooting wide, Cardozo unable to beat Dida and Rui Costa dragging a free-kick off target.

In control

Milan dominated following the restart but were unable to add to their two first-half goals, with Kaka the first to produce a save from Quim in the second 45.

Inzaghi hit the side netting when using his chest to direct the ball towards goal, and Marek Jankulovski then saw a strong run into the box end with his strike being deflected just over the top.

Inzaghi missed two glorious chances to score his second and Milan's third as he first blazed over from 12 yards after Ambrosini's cut-back, then was brilliantly kept out in the 77th minute by a reaction stop from Quim.

Emerson almost scored with his first touch after coming on when his fierce drive from distance had to be saved, but another substitute did find the back of the net late on.

Nuno Gomes left it until deep into stoppage time to poke home at the back post after Konstantinos Katsouranis' ball across Dida's six-yard box came all the way through to the striker.

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MilanTeam StatisticsBenfica
2Goals1
21st Half Goals0
9Shots on Target4
9Shots off Target8
4Blocked Shots1
6Corners4
20Fouls21
4Offsides3
1Yellow Cards1
0Red Cards0
85.2Passing Success82
30Tackles23
83.3Tackles Success69.6
58.9Possession41.1
48.6Territorial Advantage51.4

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