Rio Ave (AP) – Nine-time European Cup winner AC Milan only qualified for the Europa League in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
After a total of 24 penalties, the Italian top club won 9: 8 against the Portuguese outsider FC Rio Ave. After extra time it was 2: 2 and after regular time 1: 1 (0: 0).
The game of the playoff round lasted so long that the AC Milan team could no longer fly back to Italy as planned because the airport in Porto was already closed. The club’s own “Milan TV” reported this.
Former Bundesliga professional Hakan Calhanoglu saved his team from the penalty shoot-out in first place with a converted penalty kick in extra time (120 + 2 minutes). And there too, after Lorenzo Colombo’s misses, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and Ismael Bennacer had three chances to throw the big favorite out of the competition after Lorenzo Colombo’s misses. But Rio Ave also missed three times immediately – once the ball bounced from the inside to the inside. On the 24th and final penalty, Brazilian Aderllan Santos failed against Italian national goalkeeper Donnarumma.
“It’s hard to control your emotions at a time like this,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. “Penalty shootouts are a lottery. But we are very happy with this result.”
The Europa League is the only international competition that AC Milan has not yet won in its history. The club has won four times in the Champions League, three times in the previous competition, the European Cup Winners ‘Cup and twice in the now-closed European Cup Winners’ Cup.