Abate beaming with pride after win over Real Madrid: “I can’t ask for more”

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan Primavera head coach Ignazio Abate could not hide his joy after his side reached the UEFA Youth League final four for the second consecutive season.

After reaching the semi-finals of the youth Champions League for the first time last season, the Primavera had the chance to repeat their run after beating Braga on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

It set up a home tie against Real Madrid, and the Spaniard took the lead controversial fashion just after the half-hour mark when Gonzalo made a run down the right wing and went down. Replays showed he was not only offside but that Magni got the ball, but the spot kick was converted.

The Rossoneri dusted themselves down and equalised a few minutes into the second half through Diego Sia. The winger got the ball in behind and finished through the legs of the goalkeeper with incredible composure.

After 90 minutes it was 1-1 and the game went to penalties, where Noah Raveyre was the hero with two saves giving Scotti the chance to win it. He saw his shot saved, though Zeroli finished with Milan’s next penalty to secure a 4-3 shootout win.

Abate spoke to reporters after the game to try and assess what was another memorable afternoon for his side, and MilanNews relayed his comments.

What changed at the interval?

“Facing AC Milan-Real in the quarter-finals of the Youth League, for many young players, I was afraid they would get a little mentally overmatched. We conceded and honestly we didn’t play the first half very well, we were lucky not to concede a second.

“But we put our heart into it so as not to sink and in the second half the boys let themselves go, played openly and suffered when they had to suffer.

“We could have even taken the lead after the equaliser. I can’t ask for more from this group. I remember that it is the thirteenth midweek game and for such a young group it is difficult ”

Is it a reason to be proud to be in the Final Four again?

“We are here for the second consecutive year. It is not something to be taken for granted, perhaps it has never happened. We must give credit to this group which has very high moral qualities, they are united.

“We are not coming from a very brilliant period and we must find the condition again, but we have little time to work but we are standing. It means that this group has too big a soul and a very strong sense of belonging.”

To what extent will last year’s experience be useful?

“In last year’s semi-final we played a great match and while we were playing we went down in the result. Football is unpredictable, in the one-off match an episode can change the match.

“Our great merit today is having gained experience last year and having remained standing after the goal conceded. It’s not easy, even the boys who were in their first year today suffered the event.

“It’s the experience that these competitions give you. When you see the name of these two clubs, I think that anyone feels tension: I don’t know when it will happen again.

“I told the kids that it was a historic event and maybe many will talk about it in a few years. I told them to enjoy it but in the first half they didn’t listen to me… (laughs).”

A comment on Diego Sia?

“I don’t like talking about individuals, after a match like today where the soul of the group made the difference. However, I coached Diego in the under 16s and last year I brought him to the Primavera team and he scored decisive goals to keep us up.

“A humble boy, who works, always at the service of the team. Then he makes his qualities available to the group: today he scored a great goal.”

Tags AC Milan Ignazio Abate Milan Primavera


  1. Two years in a row in semifinals is a great result, granted that the teams playing are defined by the results of the senior team (e.g. we didn’t even make playoffs in Primavera last year).
    That said, hope we go all the way and win it.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.