Amad Diallo’s debut goal for Manchester United was cancelled out by a late equaliser as AC Milan picked up an away goal and crucial draw in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 at Old Trafford, Manchester.
A stoppage-time header from Danish defender Simon Kjaer earned a draw for the Rossoneri heading into the second league at San Siro with a slight advantage.
Milan can go through by keeping a clean sheet at home in Italy next week when the two teams meet for the return leg.
Manchester United teenager Amad Diallo just took 5 minutes after coming on for the Red Devils to find the back of the net but it was all in vain as United failed to keep out Denmark’s Kjaer who headed home from a corner kick in stoppage time to salvage a draw for AC Milan.
It must be said that the away side deserved something from the game after two goals were ruled out in the first half as United were slow to start.
The home side were very fortunate to go in level at 0-0 at half time as Rafael Leao scored in the 5th minute for Milan but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Franck Kessie scored in the 11th minute but that was ruled out by the VAR for a questionable handball so United got out of jail there.
United keeper Henderson was kept busy throughout the game but Harry Maguire somehow missed a golden opportunity to score in the first half as he hit the post from point-blank range at the far post with an empty net.
18-year-old Ivorian Diallo, who joined United from Atalanta in January, had an immediate impact after coming on after half time as he timed a perfect run to be picked out by a lovely Bruno Fernandes cross from the centre of the field to head the ball with the back of his head, over the big Italian #1 goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Welshman Daniel James also missed a sitter after Diallo scored that would have put United well in control and in the driver’s seat going into the second leg. Mason Greenwood put in a perfect low cross that an unmarked James made a mess of from 5 metres out.
United were made to rue their missed chances as Milan found a way back right at the end as the Red Devils conceded another goal from a set piece in what has been a trend all season.
Both teams had significant players out for the first leg with Milan missing superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic and captain Alessio Romagnoli.
Manchester United on the other hand, lost Anthony Martial to injury in the first half and already had all their big players including Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba out.
United have their work cut out on Thursday night as they look to turn the tide around with Zlatan all set to return for the Rossoneri. Stefano Pioli will be optimistic about the chances of his Milan side securing a spot in the last 8 of the UEFA Europa League.