AC Milan have been offered a glimpse into the future.
The way things are going, the Rossoneri will not be playing much of a role in it.
A 19-year-old almost completely marked a near 30-year-old out of the game.
A 24-year-old scored twice against a defence including a 33, 36- and 38-year-old.
And towards the end of this study in what happens when you fail to evolve, a 36-year-old was trying to outpace a 22-year-old.
Milan could have ended the game on level terms with Manchester United, but it would have been like the aging beauty covering up the worry lines that will be growing ever deeper ahead of the return leg in two weeks time.
It was as expected: the first 30 minutes or so when Milan could have scored two or three and then the creeping sensation that it is all about to cave in.
SERIE AAAAARGH, Mon Feb 15: Milan hobble by creaking limbs and dodgy Becks
Paul Scholes may never score a more fortunate goal than his equaliser, but as the ball trickled beyond the bumbling Dida the Rossoneri knees began to wobble Ã¢ÂÂ literally, in Luca AntoniniÃ¢ÂÂs case: the full-back was off the pitch when the cross was sent in.
"I want a cocoa"
Leonardo is still a small fish in the big pond of domestic and European football and twice this season he has been torn apart by gameÃ¢ÂÂs most ruthless predators; first Jose Mourinho and now Sir Alex Ferguson.
While the visiting coach used half-time to galvanise his side - no doubt in his tried and trusted manner - what was the greenhorn Brazilian up to?
Certainly not sorting out his tactics.
And although his boldness at playing three up front has been applauded all season, there is little point in a front three when there is no interchange of movement between them.
In the ever more static world of Serie A you can get away with it but in the razor-sharp environment of the Champions League it's like playing with a man down.
Ronaldinho hugged the left flank and Rafael Ã¢ÂÂ once he worked out that he didnÃ¢ÂÂt need to dive into every challenge Ã¢ÂÂ had the measure of his compatriot, which should be a source of major embarrassment for the former world player of the year.
"That way, old fella"
Pato was equally wedged to the other wing while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar very rarely strayed from the straight and narrow through the middle.
With David Beckham completely wasted, playing neither as a right-sided midfielder or a deep-lying playmaker, why not throw Clarence Seedorf on after the break for Huntelaar?
Pato could have encouraged to play through the middle and direct his pace straight at the opposition penalty area, with Becks given the wide role to start doing what he does best: delivering telling crosses.
His presence on the right would have reinforced an area of the pitch in which neither Andrea Pirlo or Massimo Ambrosini could get to grips with the modern photofit midfielder: young, obscenely fit and neat on the ball.
Hope hasn't been extinguished completely, but unlike the giant banner unfurled in the Curva Sud which read Ã¢ÂÂfighting for glory for 100 years,Ã¢ÂÂ it looks like a case of fighting for their lives at Old Trafford.
The Italian press this morning only had doe-eyes for one man and of course that was Wayne Rooney.
The headlines were fawning in their praise: Ã¢ÂÂRooney KOs Milan,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂSuper Rooney,Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂRooney destroysÃ¢ÂÂ and so on.
However, it is the pagella and voti (player ratings) that reflect the true depth of admiration for the striker.
Generally, a score of eight out of 10 pops up as many times as the winning line in the Italian lottery, but each of the major sports daily awarded Rooney the equivalent of a gold star in a school report.
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