Date:Wednesday September 18 2013
Wed 18th Sep 7.45pm
AC Milan scored twice in three minutes late on against Celtic in their opening Champions League Group H game at the San Siro Stadium.
The visitors remained level until Emilio Izaguirre diverted Cristian Zapata's 82nd minute effort into his own net before Sulley Muntari added a second after Fraser Forster blocked Mario Balotelli's free-kick.
Manager Neil Lennon had earlier recalled Charlie Mulgrew for the unavailable Joe Ledley while Georgios Samaras replaced Dutch winger Derk Boerrigter.
Former Manchester City striker Balotelli was always going to provide the main threat for an injury-hit Milan side and his volley soon forced Forster into action.
Celtic themselves had a decent situation when awarded an indirect free-kick inside the area after home keeper Christian Abbiati was penalised but Kevin Constant charged down Mulgrew's delivery.
Milan recruited Alessandro Matri from Juventus over the course of the summer and the ex-Cagliari marksman's header was denied by Forster midway through the first-half, while Antonio Nocerino narrowly cleared the target with a dipping effort.
The visitors still suggested danger ahead of the interval with Philippe Mexes getting in the way of Anthony Stokes' strike before Forster had to react to Balotelli's deflected drive at the other end to ensure parity at the break.
Hoops' recalled striker Samaras was next to threaten the scoreline with an effort narrowly wide and then a further attempt around the hour-mark from which Mulgrew tried an overhead conversion.
Former Portsmouth midfielder Muntari headed beyond the far post in reply, although it was Celtic who came closest to breaking the deadlock with Mulgrew curling a trademark 79th minute free-kick against the crossbar after substitute Teemu Pukki had been fouled.
However, fortune was more favourable towards Milan just three minutes later as Zapata's low drive deflected off the unlucky Izaguirre on its way past the wrong-footed Forster.
And soon afterwards Balotelli both won and executed a free-kick which Forster managed to turn against an upright, only for weekend goalscorer Muntari to do the rest and double the lead.
AC Milan: Abbiati, Zaccardo, Mexes, Zapata, Constant (Robinho 75), De Jong, Muntari, Nocerino, Birsa (Emanuelson 63), Matri (Poli 87), Balotelli
subs (unuded): Amelia, Iotti, Christante, Benedicic
Goals: Izaguirre OG (82), Muntari (85)
Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre, Matthews (Boerrigter 75), Brown, Mulgrew (Biton 89), Commons (Pukki 77), Samaras, Stokes
subs (unused): Zaluska, Rogic, McGeouch, Balde
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Date:Wednesday September 18 2013
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|7. St. Mirren||13||4||3||6||-7||15|
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