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Pedro Leon denies Inzaghi glory
Substitute Pedro Leon struck an injury-time equaliser against AC Milan to send Real Madrid through to the last 16 of the Champions League and preserve the Spanish club`s unbeaten record under coach Jose Mourinho.

Milan replacement Filippo Inzaghi looked to have consigned Madrid to defeat after netting twice in the second half to help the Italian outfit overturn a 1-0 deficit, given to Madrid by Gonzalo Higuain on the stroke of half-time.

However, with Mourinho set to suffer a losing return to San Siro where he enjoyed so much success with previous club Inter Milan, Leon popped up in the fourth minute of additional time to drill in the equaliser.

The result means nine-times European champions Madrid are guaranteed a place in the knockout stages even though they lost their 100% record in Group G.

Both sides had chances during an entertaining opening period, although it was in-form Madrid - with 10 wins from 13 competitive games under Mourinho this season - who looked much the more likely scorers for large periods.

In the opening 10 minutes the visitors went close through Higuain and Pepe and then, after Kevin-Prince Boateng fired straight at Iker Casillas for Milan, Madrid had four more decent efforts in quick succession.

Xabi Alonso fired a 30-yard volley just wide, Angel Di Maria hit the outside of the post when he perhaps should have done better before Andrea Pirlo produced two goal-saving headers one after another to deny Higuain and Di Maria.

Sami Khedira then headed a corner against the post, although it would not have counted as referee Howard Webb had spotted a foul.

Madrid were looking in total control but Milan`s star-studded attack were not without threat either and Casillas did superbly to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the on-loan Barcelona striker had been put clean through by Boeteng.

Ibrahimovic had another chance in the 36th minute after being put in by Ronaldinho`s clever chip, but the Swedish hitman`s lob over Casillas - whose had recklessly charged out to the edge of the area - landed harmlessly away from goal and Madrid could breath again.

The Spanish giants were back on the attack soon after that with another Alonso thunderbolt being unconvincingly saved by Christian Abbiati.

Mourinho`s side deserved a goal for their first half efforts, and they got the breakthrough they had been looking for right on the stroke of half-time.

Di Maria charged in from the left wing and threaded a superb disguised pass into fellow Argentinian Higuain, who collected possession by the penalty spot before sliding his shot past the unprotected Abbiati.

That was Madrid`s 700th goal in the European Cup, comfortably becoming the first club to reach the milestone.

Madrid were back on the attack at the start of the second half with Cristiano Ronaldo bringing a flying save out of Abbiati in the 47th minute with a dipping 25-yard shot.

However, just when the Primera Division outfit looked to have the match under complete control, Milan equalised out of the blue through veteran Inzaghi, who took advantage of some poor defending from Madrid to net his 45th champions League goal.

Pepe made a mess of trying to clear a through-ball, allowing Ibrahimovic to break down the left and then Casillas could only parry the Swede`s cross up into the air, allowing the predatory Inzaghi the easy task of heading home from close range.

That was in the 68th minute, and 10 minutes later the 37-year-old netted what looked like being the winner.

The Italy international looked just offside as Gennaro Gattuso played a pass over the top, but the flag stayed down and Inzaghi got to the ball just before Ricardo Carvalho and Casillas to slide the ball in.

Massimiliano Allegri`s men must have felt that was enough to sentence Madrid to defeat, but the visitors refused to give up and Leon latched onto fellow replacement Karim Benzema`s neat pass before drilling his shot through Abbiati`s legs, sparking wild scenes in the Spanish side`s camp.

# Mourinho: Point fully deserved

Jose Mourinho said his Real Madrid side fully warranted their point after Pedro Leon's injury time goal in the San Siro.

"There was no way Madrid could leave this stadium with a defeat, so the late goal was entirely deserved," Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia. "Our team is very young and has to grow, but has immense potential. Tonight we proved our talent and that we are still a little naïve, so we have to be more cynical to win the Champions League.

"The first Milan goal came from Pepe slipping over. The second was obviously offside and beyond doubt. But I don't want to talk about the referee. I prefer to say Real played a great game, that in the first half - like in Madrid - they put in a wonderful performance.

"Milan are not fantastic in terms of their football, but their character is remarkable with people like Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf who for years have been playing in the Champions League. Madrid were in control, but they had the character to hit back."

Mourinho refused to criticise referee Howard Webb for Inzaghi's goal. He added: "This referee is one of the best in the world and I'm not going to change my opinion for a mistake or for giving too few cards. I'd be happy to have him on the pitch in all my games, but he made a mistake awarding Milan's second goal. We all make mistakes. He is a fantastic referee.''

Massimiliano Allegri was disappointed to surrender the lead so late. ''It's a shame, as we had basically won the match," he said.

"I think the draw is perhaps the right result considering the chances Real had in the first half, though we also had clear scoring opportunities. In the second half we were a little too deep, but the reaction and hunger to overturn the result was the strength of this Milan.

"It's a shame, as we had basically won the match. We feel a bit like we threw away the victory. Real have great technique and moved around quickly, while we probably could've been a little less hasty in our construction.

"We played with our strikers quite wide so that when out of possession we could put pressure on them and create more of an advantage in midfield with our three against their two. Also on the counter we did well in some occasions, while in others with Pato he kept going down the same path when he should've changed play.

"I think Pippo is an example for the way he comes into games. He sets the example for youngsters, as he needs spirit and fire in the veins to play at this level. Gennaro Gattuso and also tonight Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed that too."

Pedro Leon, the first Spaniard to score under Mourinho at Real, spoke of his delight at his late strike.

"My goal is an enormous joy because it's given us the point which means we've qualified. We are very happy,'' Leon said. "We had a very good game until Inzaghi scored his two goals. Then I've managed to score, but the important thing is the team. I think that an away draw and in the San Siro is a good result. We are a team and we all try to do our bit on the pitch. We are happy, although we all wanted to win. The coach is also happy.''
 
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