FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Tottenham’s UEFA Champions League campaign came to an end after failing to overturn a 1-0 deficit in the last 16 against AC Milan.
Antonio Conte returned to the touchline following gallbladder surgery but his tactics and substitutions were loudly questioned by disgruntled home supporters on an infamous night in the club’s modern history.
Stefano Pioli’s Milan didn’t have to do too much in order to see off the supposed threat of Spurs and advanced to the quarter-finals of this competition for the first time since they won it in 2007.
The visitors were the first team to have a real half-sight of goal. A cleverly-worked free-kick saw Sandro Tonali slip in Junior Messias, who ghosted past Ben Davies easily with a quick side-step, but he dragged his shot across the face of goal.
The closest Tottenham came to an opener in the first half was when a deflected low cross from Harry Kane bounced wide off the shins of goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Just after the break, Milan again went close to breaking the deadlock when Brahim Diaz stumbled his way deep into the box and got a shot away, but he was too close to Fraser Forster and his effort was denied.
Pedro Porro’s introduction from the bench sparked some life into Spurs, providing more dynamism down the right flank, but they still struggled to carve out chances.
The clunky Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, similarly to Diaz, managed to fall over his own feet dribbling into the area, forcing Maignan into a save high at his near post.
A snap-shot from Olivier Giroud was palmed away in similar vein by Forster as Milan sought to hit a panicking Tottenham on the counter, while a diving Kane header from a Porro cross bounced off the turf and behind.
With under 15 minutes remaining, Cristian Romero picked up a second yellow charge for a high challenge on Theo Hernandez, all but killing the tie.
Home fans loudly booed Conte’s decision to replace forward Dejan Kulusevski with defender Davinson Sanchez with the hosts still needing a goal in the final 10 minutes.
Deep into six minutes of stoppage time, Kane headed a free-kick from Son down at Maignan, who did well to palm it away with haste, before Divock Origi went down the other end and hit the post.
That was the last piece of goal-mouth action as Spurs’ exit was sealed.
GK: Fraser Forster – 5/10 – Little to do but made the saves he had to. Seemed bemused when possession kept coming back to him.
CB: Cristian Romero – 2/10 – Cost his side with a high and cynical challenge. The villain in both legs of the tie.
CB: Clement Lenglet – 6/10 – Managed to deal with the threat of Giroud.
CB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Looked a little out of his depth with a string of poor decisions.
RM: Emerson Royal – 5/10 – A non-entity in the final third and on both flanks.
CM: Oliver Skipp – 5/10 – Wasn’t afraid of making big challenges but was limited in possession.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 4/10 – Continually put his teammates under pressure with poor passes and dawdled on the ball.
LM: Ivan Perisic – 3/10 – Has lot every bit of his once powerful athleticism and was on a different wavelength to his teammates.
RF: Dejan Kulusevski – 5/10 – Saw more of the ball than his attacking co-stars but did little with it, often deferring to his wing-back.
LF: Son Heung-min – 4/10 – Completely shut down, again.
CF: Harry Kane – 5/10 – It’s bad when Kane isn’t even dropping deep to try and make things happen for Spurs.
Pedro Porro (53′ for Perisic) – 7/10
Richarlison (70′ for Emerson) – 5/10
Davinson Sanchez (84′ for Kulusevski) – N/A
Antonio Conte – 2/10 – Spurs were so, so flat and lost.
GK: Mike Maignan – 6/10 – Surprisingly wasn’t too busy despite Spurs’ need to score.
CB: Pierre Kalulu – 7/10 – Had little trouble in his duels with Son.
CB: Malick Thiaw – 7/10 – Just as was the case at San Siro, the young defender was in his element.
CB: Fikayo Tomori – 7/10 – Dived into challenges but in a timely manner.
RM: Junior Messias – 6/10 – A dynamic option at wing-back but lost his composure when under pressure.
CM: Rade Krunic – 7/10 – A little more careful in possession here than in the return fixture.
CM: Sandro Tonali – 7/10 – Enjoyed the midfield battle without having to do too much.
LM: Theo Hernandez – 6/10 – Didn’t offer too much but his willingness to bomb on led to Romero’s red card.
RF: Brahim Diaz – 6/10 – Milan were pretty blunt but Diaz was their most successful attacker.
LF: Rafa Leao – 5/10 – Roughed up from the off. His touch continually escaped him.
CF: Olivier Giroud – 5/10 – Worked hard but that was about it.
Alexis Saelemaekers (56′ for Messias) – 5/10
Ismael Bennacer (81′ for Diaz) – N/A
Divock Origi (81′ for Giroud) – N/A
Ante Rebic (89′ for Leao) – N/A
Stefano Pioli – 6/10 – Milan are through without having to get out of second gear. Job well done.
Player of the Match – Malick Thiaw (AC Milan)