AC Milan 0-0 Newcastle United: Tonali marks San Siro return with goalless draw

Twenty painstaking years have passed since Newcastle United last featured in the UEFA Champions League, but Eddie Howe’s side would make their long-awaited return on Tuesday evening as they travelled to the hallowed turf of the San Siro. There, a tough AC Milan side would await them – with Sandro Tonali set to line up against some familiar faces after departing the club this summer.

ACM: Maignan; Hernandez, Tomori, Thiaw, Calabria; Pobega, Krunić, Loftus-Cheek; Leão, Giroud, Chukwueze

NEW: Pope; Burn, Botman, Schär, Trippier; Tonali, Guimarães, Longstaff; Gordon, Isak, Murphy

With Borussia Dortmund travelling to PSG’s Parc des Princes later on Tuesday, this clash would mark the opening of the Group F affairs – and securing at least a point on the road would be invaluable for Newcastle United’s hopes of progression.

In a first half dominated by the Rossoneri, Nick Pope was the visitors’ hero as he leapt well to save efforts from Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez. Rafael Leão sent a backheeled effort wayward too, with the Toon Army lucky to reach the half-time interval on par with their Italian hosts.

But the second period saw Howe’s side grow into the game, with Sandro Tonali impressing against his former club – and the midfielder saw his strike blocked by his former colleagues as Newcastle United sought to take the lead in a closely-contested affair.

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Yet a lack of clinical finishing would cost the hosts, who had their fair share of chances through both Tijjaini Reijnders and Rafael Leão. Reijnders’ strike was saved well by Nick Pope, while Leão’s headed effort was planted over the woodwork from close range.

The points were shared at the San Siro, and Newcastle United will likely feel the luckier of the two sides given the immense pressure they came under in the first half. Eddie Howe’s side return to European action on 4 October as they host PSG at St James’ Park, while AC Milan travel to Borussia Dortmund on the same date.