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Late Leon strikes halts AC Milan comeback

 Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain, of Argentina, center, scores a goal during a Champions League, Group G, soccer match between AC Milan and Real M...

Italy Soccer Champions League

Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuain, of Argentina, center, scores a goal during a Champions League, Group G, soccer match between AC Milan and Real M...

Substitute Pedro Leon scored a last-gasp equalizer Wednesday to give Real Madrid a 2-2 draw at AC Milan that sent the Spanish club through to the Champions League knockout round.
Filippo Inzaghi had earlier come off the bench to score twice as Milan rallied from a 1-0 deficit in Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's first return to the San Siro since leaving Inter Milan.
But Leon collected a pass in the area in the last seconds of injury time and slotted between the legs of Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.
Madrid dominated the first half and took a deserved lead in the 45th through Gonzalo Higuain.
Until Inzaghi came on Milan's only attacking outlet was Alexandre Pato, but Ricardo Carvalho and Marcelo on the left of Madrid's defense easily contained him.
Jose Mourinho made sure to remind everyone of his success as Inter coach. He held up three fingers from the coach window to signify the treble of Champions League, Italian championship and Italian Cup he won last season - the only time a team has won all three trophies in one season.
The match began at a relentless pace and within the first 10 minutes Madrid twice came close to scoring.
Higuain curled in a low shot that Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati pushed away for a corner. Alex then wasted a free header by heading into the ground and over from Xabi Alonso's freekick.
Alonso went close himself when he volleyed narrowly wide from long range in the 12th and a minute later Angel Di Maria took too long to shoot after his pace took him behind Milan's defense.
Andrea Pirlo then came to Milan's rescue by twice heading off the line to deny Higuain and Mesut Ozil in close succession.
Such was Madrid's dominance that Milan was forced to rely on the counterattack. Iker Casillas held Kevin Prince Boateng's shot in the 10th and then blocked Zlatan Ibrahimovic's effort after Boateng's run had surprised the Madrid back four.
Ibrahimovic and Alonso had further chances before Higuain opened the scoring just before halftime.
Di Maria slipped the ball behind the Milan defense and Higuain stayed onside and fired low past Abbiati.
On 60 minutes Milan coach Massimo Allegri brought on Inzaghi for Ronaldinho in a bid to give the Milan attack more life.
Inzaghi didn't let his coach down and pulled Milan level eight minutes after coming on. Ibrahimovic pounced on Alex's slip, raced down the left wing and when Casillas failed to hold his cross the 37-year-old Inzaghi headed in the loose ball.
He added his second in the 78th. Gennaro Gattuso chipped over the Madrid defense and Inzaghi ran in and poked the ball under Casillas.
Once Milan had scored Madrid's slick interchanging, attacking formation fell apart, but the nine-time European champion hit back one more time and when Milan was unable to clear a corner Benzema slipped a pass behind Alessandro Nesta for Leon to score.


Updated : 2021-04-21 17:13 GMT+08:00