AC Milan defeats Euro champ Chelsea
With several offseason player departures and the absence of a top scorer, Urby Emanuelson showed how valuable he is to AC Milan.
Emanuelson scored in the 69th minute to lift AC Milan to a 1-0 victory over Champions League winner Chelsea in an exhibition match Saturday night.
''It always feels good to score,'' he said. ''Tonight was a good test for us. We played well and I'm happy that I scored a goal.''
Emanuelson dribbled unmarked deep toward the Chelsea penalty area and, as defenders closed in, he sent a pass toward the left wing to Stephan El Shaarawy. Shaarawy returned an immediate pass to Emanuelson, who beat Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech with a shot near the 6-yard box.
''We were standing good on defense, when we got the ball there was a lot of space to go to the goal,'' Emanuelson said.
Emanuelson has scored both AC Milan goals in its two preseason matches. He also scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Schalke 04 Tuesday in Germany.
''Last year I played a lot of games and now it's a chance to build on that,'' Emanuelson said. ''I want to feel important.''
Milan played without star striker Robinho, who could not leave his native Brazil because of a passport problem. Robinho is expected to join the club for an exhibition match against Real Madrid on Aug. 8 in New York.
''I'm very happy the way the team played,'' Milan coach Massimilano Allegri said. ''This is a team that has to grow and this was a very good step.''
Eden Hazard had Chelsea's best attempt to tie it with 4 minutes remaining in regulation. Hazard's free kick near from the half circle sailed a couple of feet above the crossbar.
''This is what pre-seasons are for, these are games to give young players a chance,'' Chelsea head coach Roberto DiMatteo said.
The match at Sun Life Stadium was played before 57,748 fans, the highest of the 2012 Herbalife World Football Challenge and second-best for a soccer game in the stadium's history.
''I'm not surprised because the four cities we went to had great support from the fans,'' DiMatteo said after his team finished its four-match, preseason tour in the U.S.
After a scoreless first half, both teams sought in an immediate strike in the opening minutes of the second half. In the 47th minute, Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia stopped Hazard's shot from 20 yards. Milan nearly broke through 4 minutes later as Emanuelson dribbled deep into the goal area and flicked a shot that required Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech's diving deflection.
Amelio was tested again in the 53rd minute when he stopped Frank Lampard's shot from 20 yards.
''I saw that during the game was doing better and that's a sign of the team progressing,'' Allegri said.
Chelsea had the first scoring opportunity of the match in the sixth minute when John Terry's shot deep in the penalty area sailed above the crossbar.
The Blues controlled the ball for most of the first 20 minutes but could not mount additional scoring threats. Milan increased its attack midway through the first half with repeated runs on goal and open looks at Cech.
In the 26th minute, Bakaye Traore blasted a shot near the large area that sailed a couple of feet wide right. Boateng had another shot from a similar distance that also went wide of the right post.
Traore pressured the Chelsea backline again in the 33rd minute as his shot from the right wing sailed above the crossbar.
Chelsea ended its North American tour 1-2-1.