AC Milan were held to a 0-0 draw at San Siro in a hard-fought contest by a Newcastle United side returning to the Champions League after a two-decade absence as the hosts spurned numerous opportunities in the Group F opener on Tuesday.
Milan’s Portugal winger Rafael Leao, who has scored in his last two games, was a constant threat down the left and kept the Newcastle defence busy but was let down by his finishing.
Last year’s Champions League semifinalists enjoyed a dominant opening spell and tested Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope with long-range efforts from Tommaso Pobega and Leao before Samuel Chukwueze had a header saved.
The best opportunity of the first half fell to Leao in the 34th minute but the 24-year-old miscued an elaborate backheel after skipping past two defenders in the penalty area.
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Though Newcastle defended better after the break, Milan continued to press in their search for an opener.
Halftime substitute Alessandro Florenzi found Leao with an inch-perfect cross in the 74th minute, but the Portuguese again failed to find the target as he put his header over the bar.
Milan, who ended the night with a tally of 25 shots, were also dealt a double injury blow with midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and keeper Mike Maignan having to be substituted.
At the other end of the pitch, the visitors’ efforts were limited to counter-attacks.