AC Milan – Red Bull Salzburg: Genial Giroud Constructs The Mirage Of Cruise Control (4-0)
Only a few loose ends remained ahead of the final round of group stage fixtures. Group E was one of those, pitting together two contestants vying to end up best of the rest and reach the knockout stages. In this open exchange of blows, the individual quality of the Italians produced a scoreline by the final whistle that suggested a much easier victory than was the case.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
The upper hand lay with AC Milan, a point clear in second spot before kickoff. Times have been hard for these European royals, seven time winners of the Champions League, but they are on the road to recovery. A top four finish last year laid the foundations for the charge toward Scudetto glory in May; now they have their eyes on another milestone. Defeats on the road and at home to Chelsea ultimately cost them first place, but entry into the Round of 16 for the first time in nine years is still on the cards.
Red Bull Salzburg hurdled that obstacle at the end of last year, keen to back up their progress on the elite continental stage. The Austrians, true to form, have not strayed from the identity that propelled their philosophy to prominence. The freshness, intensity, and vigor of youth define their style on the pitch, embodying the image of their incumbent manager. Matthias Jaissle, only . . .