C1: AC Milan, led by a gala Giroud, finds the 8th finals

A draw was enough to make them happy. It was with a big victory (4-0) against Salzburg, and with the way that AC Milan qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday, thanks to a sparkling Olivier Giroud, author of a brace and two assists.

It is the first time since the 2013/14 season that the most successful Italian club in C1 (seven crowns) has reached this stage.

The Milanese logically finish second in their group E, behind Chelsea who had won their two confrontations. Salzburg, author despite everything of a good match, will continue its European adventure in the Europa League.

In a white-hot San Siro stadium, the Milanese proved dangerous from the 3rd minute, when a cross shot from Theo Hernandez, omnipresent, hit the post.

The young Salzburg team, very enterprising and uninhibited, gave the Rossoneri a hard time throughout the first period with their generous pressing, putting a strain on a struggling Milan central defense, like Simon Kjaer.

The Austrians thus created several dangerous situations such as a strike from Kjaergaard (10th), a pivot shot from Adamu (17th) or an attempt from Susic (38th) diverted by Tatarusanu.

The Rossoneri however managed to open the scoring from a corner, with a powerful header from Giroud (14th). The French striker thought he had achieved the double in the 26th, but he was finally signaled in an offside position.

– The French to their advantage –

As soon as they returned from the locker room, the Milanese took cover for good: on a long cross from Rebic, Giroud at the far post sent a nice header to Krunic who deceived the Austrian goalkeeper with a close header from the post (47th).

The same Giroud then took over at close range a poorly cleared ball from the opposing defense on a cross from the very restless Leao (57th), who failed to weigh down the mark in the 66th, his shot crashing on the crossbar .

At the very end of the game, Giroud launched Junior Messias to deceive Kohn with a curled shot (90 + 1).

In addition to the qualification of their team, the three Frenchmen of AC Milan showed themselves to their advantage: double from Giroud, also decisive double passer, a match full of intensity and accuracy from Théo Hernandez, and a Pierre Kalulu at the both decisive in defense (10th) and not hesitating to report to the outposts.

“It’s great for confidence, it’s good for the team. Above all, it was a very important match and it’s good to be there for the important meetings”, reacted Giroud after the meeting at the Canal+ microphone.

Asked about his possible selection in Didier Deschamps’ list for Qatar, which will be revealed on November 9, the striker replied: “We’ll see, it’s not me who decides”.

After the title of Italian champion in May, the first since 2011, the return of AC Milan among the sixteen best teams in Europe confirms the recovery of the club which fell into anonymity during the 2010 decade.

C1: AC Milan, led by a gala Giroud, finds the 8th finals