#UEL: Milan progress after getting past Shamrock Rovers

AC Milan get back underway with goals from Ibra and Çalhanoğlu: at Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium, the Rossoneri triumphed 2-0 over Shamrock Rovers, thereby securing their progression to the third round of qualification in the Europa League.

Ibrahimovic clinically fired home from the edge of the box on 23 minutes after playing a one-two with Calhanoglu.

The Swede hit the bar, before playing his part in a precise passing move which set up Turkey forward Calhanoglu, who scored with a tidy finish on 67minutes.

Rovers’ Aaron Greene forced three good saves from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Milan goalkeeper twice denied Greene in the first half and made another fine stop after the interval at a Tallaght Stadium devoid of spectators in line with Uefa guidelines.

Ibrahimovic’s first-half strike was perfectly placed as he took one touch and slammed the ball right-footed past Alan Mannus at his near post.

The 38-year-old striker almost grabbed his second when a looping shot over his head cannoned off the woodwork and then Davide Calabria’s inswinging shot forced a smart save from Mannus.

Aaron McEneff cleared off the line from Theo Hernandez while Ronan Finn saw his header saved by Donnarumma at the end of the first half.

Milan aiming to emulate past glories
The victory will provide a boost for the Serie A side in their first competitive fixture of their new Covid-19 delayed season.

The 18-times Italian champions are aiming to rebuild their reputation as one of Europe’s major forces in club competition after being unable to challenge for the top honours in recent years.

Milan missed out on playing in Europe last season as they were handed a one-year ban from European football for breaching Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules.

The seven-time European Cup winners finished sixth in Serie A last season and manager Stefano Pioli has been tasked with plotting the club’s way back to the highest echelons of European football.

His team will face Bodo Glimt of Norway in the third qualifying round of the Europa League next week and must then also negotiate the play-off round if they are to progress to the group stage of the competition.

Shamrock Rovers were the first League of Ireland club to make the group stages in 2011 but their defeat at the hands of the Italian giants leaves them to concentrate on the Irish Premier Division, which they currently head by eight points from Bohemians.

The Dublin side exited the Europa League at the same stage of the competition last season – losing 4-3 after extra-time on aggregate over two legs to Cypriot outfit Apollon.

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