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Match Reports

Match Report: AC Milan 3 Brentford B 4

Archibald, Novak and Clayton on target as Bees hold out for narrow victory

22 October 2017

Brentford B won 4-3 against AC Milan on Saturday afternoon at their training ground on the edge of the Italian city. Theo Archibald scored twice, with Bradley Clayton and Jan Novak also hitting the target for Kevin O'Connor's side.

It took The Bees 43 seconds to take the lead. Archibald exchanged a neat one-two on the right wing with Clayton, captain in the absence of Herson Alves, before crossing for Novak to volley into the net.

Only three minutes passed before the B Team would get their second goal of the afternoon. This time Joe Hardy raced away on the counter attack, cutting inside from the left wing to play Archibald the ball on the edge of the box. Shooting first time, the Scottish winger clipped the ball back in the direction it had come from, finding the net via the left post.

Milan were shocked by the quick start made by their opponents but almost hit back in the eighth minute. One of the forwards sprinted past the back line only to scuff his shot and put it tamely behind for goal kick.

With 12 minutes on the clock, Mads Bech Sørensen could have added a third for the away side. He met a corner from Clayton and headed the ball into the ground and at goal. Novak was on hand to try and get the flick, his movement distracting the goalkeeper for a fraction of a second before the stopper pounced on the chance.

Clayton had netted the third goal from the penalty spot after only 16 minutes. Fullback David Titov played him the ball into the box, where Clayton turned and had his leg taken by his marker. A clear decision, there were hardly any protests as referee Pedrazzini di Abbiategrasso pointed to the spot. Despite diving the right way, the shot had too much power for the goalkeeper and found the right side of the net.

With almost 20 minutes gone, both sides had chances. At one end, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis let fly from long range and was unlucky to see his effort dip wide beyond the post. Almost straight away, goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe watched as a similar chance went past his own right post from a shot in the Milan midfield.

Hardy might have got himself on the scoresheet with 27 minutes on the clock. Hard work from Clayton saw the ball come across the six-yard box. In a crowd of bodies, Hardy got his shot away but it was tame and the goalkeeper smothered the chance.

After half an hour, AC Milan won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box and slightly right of centre. A move right off the training ground saw two Milan players step over the ball, before a third fizzed a low cross into the crowded penalty area. As players flew in left and right, it was centre-back Jarvis Edobor who managed to get in the way and clear the ball.

Milan were building momentum and found the net themselves after 35 minutes. A ball that split the back four wide open allowed a Milan forward to break clear, before he shot low into the bottom left corner. His accuracy found the netting just inside the post and slightly out of the reach of Balcombe. 3-1.

Within three minutes, Archibald restored the three-goal cushion in style. Good pressure in the middle allowed Clayton to win the ball back and he slid a pass through to Archibald on the right. The 19-year-old cut inside and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper, who was only slightly off his line, and into the net.

Milan were forced into a change in the final few minutes of the half as their pacey left-back collided with Titov. The Brentford fullback managed to walk it off but Milan made an early change before the whistle blew for half time.

At the break, the hosts made a further four changes to their side, bringing in one more new defender, changing their goalkeeper and a swapping a couple of midfield players. Meanwhile, Nikolaj Kirk was replaced at the break by O'Connor as Ali Coote got his first run-out of the Italy tour.

Milan's fresh side seemed inspired after the restart and went straight to work to try and reduce Brentford's lead.

Another free-kick routine saw them put a shot just over the top of the crossbar with 56 minutes gone, then shortly afterwards a neat one-two had them in behind again before Edobor headed the ball clear.

Sørensen was replaced by fellow Danish defender Lukas Talbro after this. A push from behind while in the air meant the big centre-back landed awkwardly and couldn't continue.

At the other end, Brentford missed a golden chance when Novak pressured the keeper into giving him the ball just outside the box. Squaring it unselfishly for Hardy, the striker put too much power on the shot and it looped over the bar, much to the relief of the two Milan defenders who had raced back to cover the line.

After an hour, Coote got his first chance at goal. Finding space in the middle, he decided to have a go and it certainly caused some trouble for the keeper who needed two attempts to hold onto the ball.

In the final 20 minutes, AC turned the pressure up and Brentford were forced into their half to defend deep. 

Balcombe was on hand to deny the home side twice in quick succession. First he parried a volley from the far post before catching the ball as it came back down to him. Then he was able to get across his goal to palm away a header after a deep corner found someone unmarked in the middle. Titov then got down bravely to block the rebound.

On 77 minutes, the hosts scored the goal that had been coming. Another long ball from the wing and another unmarked man at the far post, this time on the right side of the box. The striker had time to take a touch before nudging the ball beyond the onrushing Balcombe.

A few minutes later, they were well and truly back in the fight. Edobor had a clearance charged down by the right winger, the ball bounced favourably for the Milan man and he raced towards goal. Cutting the ball back away from the boots of Talbro, he found his striker who swept the ball into the back of the net. 4-3. Six minutes to play.

Further bombardment of the Brentford goal followed. Long balls over the top were sent back the way they came by Talbro and Edobor. Then Chatzitheodoridis made a brave challenge to stop the ball getting beyond him near the corner flag. Clayton picked up a yellow card for a smart foul to stop the opposition racing clear after playing the ball around him. 

In the end, Brentford had the final chance. Archibald sent a free-kick, from 25 yards out, curling past the right post as the Milan goalkeeper hopelessly dived in the same sort of direction. As the goal kick was sent long, the final whistle blew.

Brentford B: Balcombe; Titov, Edobor, Sørensen (sub Talbro 58 mins), Chatzitheodoridis; Kirk (sub Coote 45 mins), Assibey-Mensah (sub Trialist M 74 mins), Clayton (c); Archibald, Hardy, Novak (sub Trialist L 80 mins)


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