The visitors played much of the game against ten men after Franck Kessie was sent off in the first half for two bookable offences on Marcos Llorente.
But despite their advantage, they struggled to break down a stubborn Milan side, who were desperate to take home maximum points. However, the Rojiblancos persisted and took home all three points in a dramatic fashion.
AC Milan were playing their first Champions League game at the San Siro in seven years and needed no telling on the importance of this tie.
Milan started strongly with the ‘Rossoneri’ faithful cheering their team on, testing their visitors early through Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz.
Their early pressure paid off in the 22nd minute through Rafael Leao, who found the net from the edge of the box to send San Siro to wild celebrations.
But their joy was short-lived as seven minutes later; they were reduced to ten men when Kessie was shown his second yellow card of the game for a foul on Llorente.
With the hosts down to ten men, the visitors pressed for an equaliser but found the Milan defence too strong to break down.
However, their persistence paid off in the 84th minute when Antoine Griezmann pounced to score after an excellent attacking move from Atletico.
As the game wore on, Milan were increasingly desperate to take home one point in the game. But the home team ran out of luck when Luis Suarez scored from the penalty spot in the ninth minute of added time after Pierre Kalulu was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
The result leaves AC Milan bottom of the table and in need of a win in their next game to keep their hopes of qualifying alive.
Suarez and Griezmann arrive with important goals
For nights like this, Atletico bought Suarez and Griezmann, and both strikers delivered when it mattered.
The pair are two strikers who have won it all and played at the highest level. But before this game, there were question marks over each of them for several reasons.
For Griezmann, many questioned if he still had it in him after his return to the club. He had flopped by his standard at Barcelona, and many saw him as a dead weight in Diego Simeone’s side.
However, all those talks will subside a bit now after the Frenchman found the net in the game against Milan. He remains Atletico Madrid’s all-time goal scorer in European competition and will be happy to finally score.
Meanwhile, Suarez was accused of always being missing in away European games. But on Tuesday, he finally scored his first away goal in the UCL in 26 games.
Unlucky Milan have work to do
Going by their industry and effort in this game, AC Milan deserved at least a point.
The Italian side have waited for this type of fixtures for seven years and were willing to take their opportunity only to be undone by a careless Franck Kessie.
Even with a man down, Stefano Pioli’s side still remained disciplined and were unlucky to concede the penalty in the manner they did.
They have now lost their opening two games and are sitting rock bottom in this very tough group.
Only a win against Porto will give them the fighting chance of still qualifying from this group. Pioli knows this and will be hoping that his side can respond when they play the Portuguese side.
VAR silent amid poor refereeing
Milan will feel they lost this match partly due to the poor officiating.
First, Franck Kessie was sent off for an offence that so many referees wouldn’t dare to give, considering the magnitude of this tie.
But the most outrageous decision was with VAR, who failed to overturn referee Cuneyt Cakir’s decision to award a penalty to Atletico after the ball had hit Thomas Lemar before touching the arm of Kalulu.
The reason VAR was brought was to eradicate controversies like this, but on one of Milan’s biggest European nights, the technology was silenced, creating more controversies instead of dissolving one.