SALZBURG, Austria (AP) — Seven-time winner AC Milan opened its Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw at Salzburg on Tuesday.
Milan entered energized by its derby win over Inter Milan and the closing of its latest ownership switch — which includes a minority stake for the New York Yankees.
But Noah Okafor put Salzburg ahead with a splendid goal near the half-hour mark. First, the Switzerland international dribbled through the legs of Milan defender Fikayo Tomori, then he completed a “double tunnel” by shooting through the legs of goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Milan equalized before the break when Alexis Saelemaekers had time to control a cross from Rafael Leão before shooting in from the center of the area.
Leão then nearly won it for Milan in stoppage time when he had a shot deflected off the post.
“It was a very intense match from both teams,” Saelemaekers said.
Dinamo Zagreb stunned Chelsea 1-0 in the night’s other Group E match earlier.
Milan, which won the last of its European Cups in 2007, finished last in its group a year ago. But after winning its first Italian league title in more than a decade, the Rossoneri entered this year’s competition with more confidence.
“It is a very different style of soccer to Serie A, but we have a strong squad and will have our say in this competition,” Saelemaekers said.
United States full back Sergiño Dest didn’t make much of an impact after coming on in the second half for his Milan debut after joining on loan from Barcelona.
“(Dest) still needs to learn our playing style and his teammates. But he’s got skill, especially when he pushes forward,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. “He’s a player who probably will provide us with different characteristics and different solutions.”