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Last-gasp Suarez penalty earns Atletico victory over 10-man Milan

MILAN :Luis Suarez's stoppage-time penalty and Antoine Griezmann's first goal since returning to Atletico Madrid earned the Spanish side a 2-1 victory over 10-man AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Griezmann, who rejoined Atletico last month on a season-long loan from Barcelona, pounced in the 84th minute to level, before Suarez grabbed Diego Simeone's side their first win in this season's competition in the 97th minute in dramatic fashion.

Milan, competing in their first Champions League match in their San Siro stadium since 2014, had looked on course for victory as they held on to the lead given to them by Rafael Leao in the 20th minute, despite Franck Kessie's first-half red card.

But, as the game wore on, Milan retreated further and further back and Griezmann finally made the Atletico pressure count, firing into the bottom corner to level.

Pierre Kalulu was then adjudged to have handled the ball in stoppage time to give Atletico the chance to snatch a dramatic victory at the death, with Suarez converting from the spot to a chorus of boos.

The result leaves Milan without a point at the bottom of Group B, while Atletico are second with four, trailing leaders Liverpool, Suarez's former team, by two points following the Premier League side's 5-1 win over Porto in Portugal.

"I'm very proud to be here," Griezmann said. "I think the fans want to see me like this like tonight. I want to bring them happiness and they’ll be going to bed happy tonight."

Milan supporters had been waiting a long time for this sort of occasion. Atletico were in fact the last side to face them in the Champions League in the San Siro before Tuesday's encounter, back in February 2014, when a Diego Costa goal was enough to earn the Spaniards victory.

The iconic San Siro was abuzz ahead of the match. Stadiums are currently permitted to be only 50per cent full in Italy, but the majority of those fans were concentrated together in a packed Curva Sud and roared out their team for the warm-up like they had just won the final.

When the Curva unveiled their banner, in English, pre-match, the message was a simple one: "Milan is back".

The raucous crowd, who bellowed out the Champions League anthem with gusto, seemed to give Milan extra energy, as they flew out of the traps early on.

Moments after Ante Rebic should have opened the scoring, Leao did, drilling home to spark wild scenes of celebration in the stands.

That euphoria was short-lived, however, as Kessie was given his marching orders following his second booking for a foul on Marcos Llorente before the half-hour mark, much to the hosts' fury.

"I don't think it was the best evening for the referee," Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. "The numerical inferiority forced us to play another type of match, after the sending off there were many difficulties."

Suarez was looking the most likely to get Atletico level, but it was left to Griezmann, who returned to the Spanish club at the start of the season after being sold to Barcelona for a reported fee of 120 million euros (US$141 million) in 2019, to get the vital equaliser.

The drama was not done, however, as referee Cuneyt Cakir, villain of the evening for the home fans, pointed to the spot, before Suarez coolly silenced the San Siro.

(US$1 = 0.8537 euros)

(Reporting by Peter HallEditing by Toby Davis)

Source: Reuters


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