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AC Milan put on a clinic at San Siro on Wednesday during a 4-0 win against the English Premier League’s Arsenal, in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League’s round of 16. Arsenal’s inability to setup scoring chances led to the Italian side attacking throughout the entire match, giving AC Milan a comfortable lead going into the second leg of the round.
“We were never in the game, and it was a big shock,” said Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger in a postgame interview.
Tomas Rosicky gave the first scoring attempt to Arsenal, but was unable to make good contact with the shot leading to him missing the net widely. Kevin-Prince Boateng started off the scoring for AC Milan after volleying the ball underneath the crossbar on his first touch in the fifteenth minute of play.
Twenty minutes later, Zlatan Ibrahimovic walked the ball in from the left side of the field and easily crossed the ball to Robinho, who nodded the ball into the bottom right corner to increase AC Milan’s lead to 2-0.
Early substitutions by Arsene Wenger led to Johan Djourou and Thierry Henry coming into the match for Arsenal for the start of the second half. But the changes in the line-up would not effect Arsenal’s attacking ability, leading to Robinho scoring his second goal of the night for AC Milan four minutes into the second half.
Robin van Persie gave Arsenal their only close chance at getting a goal in the match, but AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati was able to sprawl out and make the save and protect his clean sheet. Arsenal prevented any chance of coming back from behind when Ibrahimovic was brought down in the box and rewarded a penalty. This led to AC Milan’s fourth and final goal of the night in the 79th minute of play.
“Our defense was slow to read the game and slow to respond,” said Wenger, “we must regroup and prepare ourselves for the next game.” Arsenal will be hosting AC Milan at the Emirates Stadium on March 6, in the second leg of the tournament between the two teams.