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Milan untroubled in Champions League win

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Associated Press

Last Updated: October 20, 2011, 04:24 IST

Milan untroubled in Champions League win

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng scored to give AC Milan a comfortable 2-0 victory.

Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng scored to give AC Milan a comfortable 2-0 victory over BATE Borisov in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic sent Milan on their way in the 33rd minute and Boateng sealed the victory - which had never looked in doubt - with 20 minutes to go.

BATE's best chance came after a glaring error from Mark van Bommel but Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati was on hand to spare his teammate's blushes.

Milan sit top of Group H, level on seven points with Barcelona, who beat Viktoria Plzen 2-0. BATE and Plzen have one point.

Massimiliano Allegri's side should have made their win more comfortable as they wasted a sackful of chances, as well as seeing Alberto Aquilani send a powerful effort crashing off the woodwork.

"We did miss quite a few," Allegri said. "But the important thing is that we created them and we were always dangerous."

"It was important that we didn't concede. We gave them a couple of chances - such as Van Bommel's mistake - but the team played well, I'm happy with how the lads played."

Milan's first opportunity came in the fourth minute. Taye Taiwo broke free down his left and crossed into the area but BATE defender Artyom Kontsevoi managed to get the ball away from the lurking Ibrahimovic.

From the resulting corner, Aquilani found himself in a great position in the middle of the area, but his effort flew over the bar.

Milan was almost made to rue that miss instantly as Renan Bressan unleashed a powerful free-kick which was narrowly over.

Seconds later, Ibrahimovic came close to scoring a spectacular opener with a shot from near the halfway line which was only just too high.

Milan went even closer in the 12th minute. Boateng picked out Antonio Cassano, who sent a great cross into the area for Aquilani to race onto, but his effort crashed off the right hand post.

The Serie A champions almost paid dearly when a mistake by Van Bommel came close to gifting BATE the lead. Van Bommel horribly miskicked a goalkick straight at Bressan, who had a clear path towards goal. Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati judged it perfectly and got down to smother the shot.

BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko, who saw his side lose 5-0 at home to Barcelona last time out, was sanguine about the missed opportunity.

"This is football, it's full of errors," Goncharenko said. "I don't think it's possible to criticize players if they miss an opportunity, even in a game as important as this ... Maybe we should have played more aggressively. But we're still a very young team and we're getting better game by game."

Milan took the lead shortly after Bressan's golden opportunity. Aquilani saw his effort, from Ignazio Abate's cross, saved but the ball rebounded out to Ibrahimovic who unleashed an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area.

Ibrahimovic almost doubled his tally moments later when he was picked out by Cassano, but the Sweden striker's cross-goal effort scraped the outside of the right hand post.

BATE came close to getting back on level terms immediately after the restart. Almost directly from kick off, Mateja Kezman raced towards goal. The ball was scrambled away from his feet but only as far as Bressan, who blazed well over.

Second later Abbiati, who had been little more than a spectator for most of the match, was forced to get down smartly to tip another BATE effort round the post.

BATE kept on pressing but without creating any clear-cut chances and leaving themselves dangerously exposed at the back. And in the 68th minute, Robinho, who had come off the bench minutes earlier, almost took advantage of the space with a narrow miss.

Milan continued to dominate and Ibrahimovic again went close to scoring a stunning goal when he chested down a free kick in the area but he could not volley the ball cleanly enough and it was cleared for a corner.

The corner was played short and then floated across the pitch to Boateng, who cut inside before blasting the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.

This was the first of a double-header for the teams, as Milan travel to Minsk to play BATE on November 1.

"We got three very important points tonight. We want to get to the Barca game level on points, so now we need to win in Minsk," Allegri said.

"The return match will be very difficult. They're playing at home, they'll be even more keen to beat us, and they're a difficult team to play. So we have to be careful."

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first published:October 20, 2011, 04:24 IST
last updated:October 20, 2011, 04:24 IST