Abate on ’emotional’ full-time embrace and the Primavera ‘protagonists’

By Ben Dixon -

AC Milan’s primavera side progressed into the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Youth League with a 4-2 win on penalties after drawing the game 2-2 in regular time. Following the game, Ignazio Abate offered his thoughts on the clash. 

The current crop of Primavera talent continues to impress, even after adversity, as they showed today by beating Braga on penalties after conceding late in the game. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they immediately looked to put the despair behind them and got themselves through on penalties.

This is something that will be heavily appreciated by those around Milanello. Not only did the side show heart after their setback, but also they displayed their ability to stay composed under pressure, which shows the maturity of the side.

A special mention has to go to Kevin Zeroli – who this season made his senior team debut against Sassuolo – as well as Noah Raveyre, who saved two penalties in the shootout.

Following the game, Abate spoke to MilanTV about the game, and his words have been relayed by MilanNews.

Heart-stopping ending…

“After the 90th minute on the bench, the mood was not the best, football gives these emotions. We committed a sin by not covering the ball on the cross. But what more can I ask of these guys?

“I carry with me the final embrace, it was too emotional. It was a very difficult game against a tough opponent, as they have U23 experience. We interpreted the game well, we tried to fight back blow after blow, and we suffered a lot but with heart and great character.

“We missed a penalty, took the lead, conceded the equaliser and took the lead again. The boys showed all their will to win. It was the watershed game of the season.

“Now we want to surpass last year’s points and then hit the playoffs to be protagonists in the last month and chase a dream.”

The freshness provided by the changes…

“The boys came on and did well. Parmiggiani, Sala, Bartesaghi… we found solidity. After we made it 2-1 they took the field, but they were very calm, they were never dangerous except for a ball that came in five minutes from the end.

“We were able to cover the pitch well, a heavy pitch… We only committed that final error that at this level you pay for. Hopefully, it will be a lesson to us, we made a similar mistake against Inter after three minutes and we can’t afford it.

“Then their heart and desire to go to the quarters was enormous. The penalties turned in our favour.”

With the Primavera into the quarter-finals, they will now face one of the following sides: Olympiacos (who beat Lens 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw), Nantes (who beat Salzburg 1-0), Bayern Munich (who beat Feyenoord 3-2), Real Madrid (who beat Leipzig 2-0), Porto (who beat AZ Alkmaar 4-3 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw), Copenhagen (who beat Zilina 4-2 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw) or Mainz (who beat Manchester City 2-1).

Tags AC Milan Ignazio Abate Milan Primavera
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