Milan muddle through again with 'anti-football'

Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:13am EST
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By Brian Homewood

(Reuters) - AC Milan have made a habit of muddling through under coach Massimiliano Allegri and they did it again on Wednesday by scraping into the Champions League knockout stage with a performance which left opponents Ajax Amsterdam fuming.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer accused Milan of playing "anti-football" after the Serie A team shut up shop against his side following midfielder Riccardo Montolivo's first-half sending-off.

Playing for over an hour with 10 men, Milan held out grimly for a goalless draw, giving them the point they needed to carry the flag for Serie A after Napoli and Juventus were knocked out.

"If you look at the two matches against Milan, I think we deserved more," said De Boer.

"Anti-football won. It's incredibly difficult to beat Milan, even when they're down to 10 men. With 11 men they're willing to play, but not with 10.

"They did everything to keep it to 0-0. That's their right, but it's very frustrating. The referee should have accorded more extra time, because sometimes it took them a full minute to throw the ball in."

"We did everything we could," he said. "But the ball simply wouldn't go in. I don't know how many passes from the sidelines came, but we just came up short each time.

"But I'm proud of the team. I think we showed that as Ajax, we don't need to bow down to anyone. We could just as well have been among the 16 clubs who will play Champions League after the winter break."   Continued...

AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri reacts during their Champions League soccer match against Ajax Amsterdam at the San Siro stadium in Milan December 11, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo