Only the goal was missing. This well-known and often-used phrase can summarize Milan's first match in the 2023-2024 Champions League, and their first match after the humiliation in the derby lost 5-1.
With "only the goal was missing," it is implied that the Rossoneri team gave an excellent performance, indeed showing resilience after the setback against Inter just three days ago, but not quite skilled enough to secure the full points that would have been crucial in the race for qualification to the round of 16, as pointed out by Milan News.
In a somewhat grumbling San Siro before the match, but as always, fervent during the game, Pioli's team created a plethora of goal-scoring opportunities, missing the net due to both the superb reflexes of English goalkeeper Pope and an excessive amount of wastefulness from the Rossoneri players. Among these actions, the most glaring was the chance squandered by Leao, who, after weaving through the opposing defense easily, opted for a backheel shot instead of smashing the ball into the net with a more conventional strike.
Newcastle hardly made an appearance near Maignan and his replacement Sportiello (today the French goalkeeper undergoes exams after straining his left flexor yesterday), but they secured a point that clearly complicates Milan's path in the challenging Group F of the Champions League.
Unfortunately, Milan did not win and there is regret about that. However, it was important to see Pioli's team create many chances and dominate especially after the last derby result. Winning, of course, would have been just and right given the clear superiority demonstrated on the field, but only a goal was missing.
Thanks to this performance, there are many positive points to take for Pioli and he must start from them. However, there are also weaknesses that must be tweaked.