Belgian stopper Thibaut Courtois put in a man on the match performance to earn Atletico Madrid an important victory against a profligate Milan side.
The keeper pulled of two outstanding saves to keep the home side at bay, before Diego Costa scored a late winner.
Courtois is currently behind Petr Cech in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, but has gone on to put in many fine displays for title-chasing Atletico. Yesterday was no different.
Milan would have wanted to take control in this first leg, knowing they face a stern test at the Vicente Calderon in a few weeks' time.
And if anyone looked likely to score for the Rosenieri, it was Kaka. The Brazilian showed flashes of the form that once saw him crowned the world's best player.
The midfielder would have put Milian in front, were it not for the brilliance of Courtois. The Belgian diverted Kaka's powerful left-foot shot onto the crossbar.
However Courtois' last save seemed relatively unimpressive compared to the one which followed three minutes later. This time he denied Andrea Poli, tipping his header onto the post at full stretch.
Kaka and Co. passed up more opportunities in the second half, as they failed to adequately test Courtois.
Milan were wasteful for much of the match.The home side attacked with gusto, but to no avail. Madrid saw their chance and took it.
Diego Costa was quickest to react to a flick on by Abate after Gabi's corner, heading in past Christian Abbiati at the far post. The goalscorer was quick to praise his goalie for the part he played in the win:
“Courtois is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he knows it,” said Costa. “With a keeper like him, we feel more secure.”
The second leg will be played on the March 11 2014.
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