Diego Simeone admitted that AC Milan had the better of play for much of the first half as Atletico Madrid scraped a 1-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg clash at the San Siro on Wednesday. Atleti goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved the day twice in the first half by pushing strikes from Kaka and Andrea Poli onto the bar before striker Diego Costa decided the game with a powerful header late in the second half.
“Milan are a team with individuals that can cause problems and they came close to hurting us,” Simeone said. “I changed the team in the second half. The five-man midfield got better at dealing with [Mario] Balotelli and Kaka as they floated between the lines. During the second half we got better as the game went on.”
Milan coach Clarence Seedorf, meanwhile, said he was “proud” of his team’s performance, despite the loss. “In the last 20 minutes we lost our intensity and Atletico started to get closer, even without creating that many chances. We were a little unlucky with the goal, but I saw some very good responses in the first half.”