THE NOTEBOOK: Former Arsenal and Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has last laugh at Tottenham, Milan were delayed by their own fans to put kick-off back… and Stefano Pioli wins the touchline style wars
Seven-time winners AC Milan reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in 11 years as a disciplined display earned them a 0-0 draw at Tottenham on Wednesday night and a 1-0 aggregate victory.
On a freezing night in north London the Italians comfortably protected the slender advantage they established in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the San Siro as Tottenham huffed and puffed to little effect.
Tottenham failed to muster an attempt on target in the first half as their frustration boiled over with manager Antonio Conte booked for letting his emotions get the better of him. The subdued hosts were not helped by having defender Cristian Romero sent off for a second yellow card in the 78th minute.
Milan could have made it a more comfortable night had they taken a few of the good chances they created but in the end a masterclass of defensive game management saw them through. Sportsmail’s MATT BARLOW takes a look at some of things you may have missed.
Giroud has the last laugh
Olivier Giroud celebrates after Milan knocked out Tottenham in the Champions League
Unsurprisingly, little affection on display for Fikayo Tomori or Olivier Giroud from the home crowd.
Tomori, who came through the ranks at Chelsea, excelled as he frustrated Spurs as part of Milan’s impenetrable back five.
Giroud, who has scored against them in the colours of Arsenal and Chelsea, could not find the net in red-and-black but had the last laugh as he kissed his shirt and threw it into the away end.
He fought off a fever to lead the line for 81 minutes and is preparing for a Champions League quarter-final.
Milan delayed by their owns fans
London’s infamous traffic congestion made its presence felt for the second successive night.
After Borussia Dortmund’s trouble reaching Stamford Bridge on time on Tuesday, both teams were late to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last night.
The Spurs bus arrived an hour before the scheduled 8pm kick off and AC Milan’s five minutes later, prompting UEFA to delay the start by 10 minutes, as they did at Chelsea.
Perhaps the flow was not helped when police closed the High Road northbound for a short period of time to let the Milan supporters march together through the sleet from Seven Sisters.
Fans carried their flags and banners, releasing red smoke canisters, all to the beat of their drums and songs, bringing a touch of Curva Sud to N17 as they celebrated on a cold and wet Wednesday night.
Pioli wins touchline style wars
Doctors’ orders left Antonio Conte at a disadvantage in the touchline style wars.
Back in the dugout since his post-op set-back Conte was wrapped up snug in his winter coat while Stefano Pioli set off his classic Italian 0-0 with a roll-neck, suit and gleaming white trainers.
Milan boss Stefano Pioli donned a roll-neck, suit and gleaming white trainers
Doubts over Kulusevski
There were positive flickers from Dejan Kulusevski but he has not been back to his most destructive form since injuring a hamstring on Sweden duty in September.
Technically, he remains a Juventus player. Tottenham, who paid £8.3million for an 18-month loan, declined the option to buy him for £26.75m last summer.
They must pay £31m and sign him at the end of this season if they reach the Champions League and he plays at least 45 minutes in 19 Premier League games.
He is already up to 16, the other part of the equation remains in the balance.
Romero seems to have contracted yellow fever
Cristian Romero seems to have contracted yellow fever in Qatar.
Two yellow cards on Wednesday night for two reckless lunges take him to eight since returning from the World Cup with a winners’ medal.
Two of them converted into red cards.
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