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Christian Pulisic’s first UCL goal in 21 months inspires comeback win to secure Europa League spot

Christian Pulisic netted his first Champions League goal in 637 days during AC Milan’s 2-1 victory vs. Newcastle on Wednesday. The result wasn’t enough for Milan to advance to the Round of 16 but did qualify the Italian club for the Europa League knockout playoffs.

In order to advance out of their Champions League group Milan needed to defeat Newcastle and required some help from Borussia Dortmund to best Paris Saint-Germain, however that game ended 1-1.

A defeat or draw to Newcastle would have seen Milan eliminated from Europe all together and that certainly looked the likely outcome after a horrendous first 45 minutes.

Milan needed a spark in the second half to overturn the 1-0 deficit and who better than Captain America himself in the 59th minute? 

Fellow American Yunus Musah slipped a ball through to Rafael Leão who fired the ball into Newcastle’s box. A miss-hit shot found Olivier Giroud who cleverly dumped the ball off to Pulisic.

Pulisic goal vs Newcastle in Champions League 

This was the American’s most important goal of the season for Milan and his first Champions League goal since March 16, 2022, during a Round of 16 game for Chelsea against Lille.

Wednesday’s game was by no means Pulisic’s strongest performance, however when his big chance came, he took it.

Pulisic’s goal had Milan back in the contest and on the front foot. He was substituted out in the 73rd minute as Milan manager Stefano Pioli introduced more attackers and fresh legs.

One of Pioli’s changes proved to be decisive as Samuel Chukwueze replaced Musah in the 83rd minute and scored a minute later.

Talk about a super sub. 

Newcastle, who started the game so strongly and dominated the first half, couldn’t find the equalizer that would have secured Europa League play.

The group of death came down to the wire and in the end Dortmund and PSG advance.

Milan will learn their opponent in the Europa League knockout playoff on Monday. The Italian club will be drawn against one of the group runners-up in the Europa League.

AC Milan vs Newcastle full highlights

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