AC Milan held off a spirited Zenit St Petersburg to a first home defeat in UEFA competition in four years.
Unbeaten on home soil in Europe in 16 games, Zenit’s proud record looked in grave danger when Urby Emanuelson and Stephan El Shaarawy put the Rossoneri two up inside 16 minutes. However, Hulk and Roman Shirokov combined either side of half-time to level the scores – until Tomáš Hubočan unwittingly turned into his own net on 75 minutes.
After the game Allegri praised the performance of goalkeeper Christian Abbiati saying:
“It was a very nice victory for us but I think this group will only be decided on the last matchday. We started the game extremely well but then Zenit changed things tactically and that did not allow us to keep playing as we had been doing in the early stages.
However, I congratulate my players especially because it is always very difficult when you concede a goal just before the interval. Zenit scored another early in the second half but we continued to play for the victory, trying to score a third. We focused only on defending in the final stages when we were very tired and were no longer disciplined tactically on the pitch. Fortunately it went well.
[Christian] Abbiati made some great saves, particularly in the first half but also in the second. He is a great goalkeeper, he made some mistakes early in the season but that’s normal. Everybody makes mistakes but when goalkeepers make them it’s obvious to everybody. However, he has proved throughout his whole career how good he is, and tonight he confirmed it.”