Milan have scored an emphatic win over Arsenal in their first leg round of 16 Champions League clash in Italy.
History has been on Arsenal’s side in their last two Champions League trips to the San Siro. Tonight, history abandoned the Gunners as they were overwhelmed by a stronger and faster Milan side 4-0 in their first leg Round of 16 match.
The match started slowly as both sides spent the opening minutes both feeling each other out and trying to wrap their minds around the dreadful San Siro pitch. Milan were forced to make an early substitution in the 12th minute as Clarence Seedorf was forced to leave the match with an injury, he was replaced by fellow Dutch player Urby Emanuelson.
Milan opened the scoring in spectacular fashion. Kevin-Prince Boateng chested down a perfectly placed pass from Antonio Nocerino on the move and without missing a beat, unleashed an arching shot that pinged in off the bottom of the crossbar, just past the diving hands of Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny.
Not be outdone, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined to give Milan a 2-0 lead just ahead of halftime. Ibrahimovic broke loose on the right wing and made a run down to the end line before chipping the ball back across the box where Robinho headed it to the far corner. Further review of the replay showed that Ibra was about about half a body width offside on the pass that started his run, but at feel speed it was very close and a tough call for the linesman.
Despite the addition of Thierry Henry at halftime, it was the defense that needed help for Arsenal. Thomas Vermaelen’s slip at the top of the box allowed Robinho to work in to space and beat Szczesny to put Milan ahead 3-0, effectively ending not only the match, but for all intents and purposes, the tie.
Because Ibrahimovic is not one to get left out of the fun, he earned a late penalty and scored his penalty kick, to give Milan a soul crushing 4-0 victory.
The result puts the Italian club on the verge of its first quarterfinal appearance since it won the tournament in 2007, and provided a disappointing finish to Thierry Henry’s loan spell at Arsenal. The return leg at the Emirates in three weeks appears to be little more than a formality at this point.