AC Milan 4 Celtic 2: Italian giants recover from two goals down to defeat Neil Lennon's men in San SiroDecember 3, 2020
AC MILAN recovered from TWO goals down to pick up a 4-2 victory over Celtic at the San Siro.
Neil Lennon’s men – who were under pressure following their shock Betfred Cup exit against Ross County – started the game excellently and found themselves two goals to the good inside the opening 15 minutes after strikes from Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard.
But the hosts hit back with a quick-fire first-half double from Hakan Calhanoglu and Samuel Castillejo before Jens Petter Hauge and Brahim Diaz completed the turnaround for the Italian giants.
The result leaves the Scottish champions rooted to the bottom of the group on just one point from their five European outings this campaign.
The Hoops started off on the front foot in Milan and grabbed the opening goal of the game after just nine minutes.
Poor play from the hosts at the back allowed Tom Rogic to nip in before he superbly found the corner of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s net.
Incredibly, five minutes later it was two.
This time it was Odsonne Edouard with a superb finish as he lifted the ball over Donnarumma after picking up a reverse pass from Ryan Christie.
AC Milan were out of rhythm in the first 20 minutes as Celtic continued to press but they were presented with their first real chance of the game when Christie put in a rash challenge around 25-yards from goal.
Calhanoglu stepped up and fired the resulting free-kick into the net on Vasilis Barkas’ side of the goal.
The Greek keeper had already made the step to the right as he watched the ball nestle in the corner.
Celtic were rocked by the goal and Milan were level inside TWO minutes.
Castillejo was the man to fire the Serie A leaders back into the contest from the middle of the box via a slight deflection off Diego Laxalt after some good build-up play from the hosts.
The quick-fire double filled Milan with confidence as they started knocking the ball around and creating a number of half chances as they went in search of their third and the game-changing goal.
And they found it just five minutes into the second-half.
Hauge jinked his way past three Celtic players before superbly finishing into the far corner of Barkas' goal.
It was a superb strike from the Norwegian – who also netted in the reverse fixture at Parkhead earlier in the group stages.
Just after the hour Celtic went close to a leveller.
Jeremie Frimpong chopped inside after a clever turn but he dragged his effort wide of the goal after an interception from Nir Bitton to start the attack.
Kristoffer Ajer then went on a galloping run into the heart of the Milan defence but his cut back was well defending from the hosts.
Frimpong – who impressed with his direct running throughout – earned a free-kick 25-yards out to present Celtic with a good opportunity to equalise, but Christie's effort was superbly kept out by Milan's No1.
It proved to be the Hoops' last real chance as the Italian side added a fourth from a superb Brahim Diaz dink over Barkas.
The result coupled up with Lille's win over Sparta Prague sees both sides qualify for the last 32 of the competition with one round of fixtures remaining.
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