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Newcastle United fight for draw with AC Milan on Champions League return

Newcastle United marked their return to the Champions League after a two-decade absence with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with AC Milan at San Siro on Tuesday.

The Group F opener saw the Serie A club waste numerous opportunities. Milan winger Rafael Leao kept the Newcastle defence busy and had his best opportunity in the 34th minute when he miscued a backheel after skipping past two defenders.

He was also wasteful in the second half, firing a header over the bar after Alessandro Florenzi found him with a perfect cross. The visitors' attacking efforts were limited to counter-attacks and the English side recorded just one shot on target.

Eddie Howe's Newcastle will be the happier of the two sides to earn a point after being on the back foot for the vast majority of the match.

Milan should have won after wasting a string of chances, particularly in the first half, and dominating the play on Sandro Tonali's return to his old stomping ground after being sold to Newcastle in July.

The Premier League side started brightly but almost came undone following a 10-minute siege of their goal by Milan.

The first to try his luck was Tommaso Pobega from distance. Pope comfortably parried that snapshot but the ball was crossed back in for a header by Samu Chukwueze, which the Newcastle goalkeeper parried at his near post.

AC Milan's Rafael Leao was wasteful on Tuesday. EPA

The Newcastle goal was almost breached in the 34th minute when Leao jinked his way into the area before tripping over his own feet when seemingly attempting a backheel finish. Pobega managed to get a shot away but it was cleared off the line by Jacob Murphy.

Christian Pulisic was brought on in the 61st minute along with Tijjani Reijnders, who almost had an immediate impact

Read more on thenationalnews.com