Milan edge out Real

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MADRID, October 22- Emerging Brazilian star Alexandre Pato outshone compatriot Kaka scoring twice as AC Milan defeated Real Madrid 3-2 in the Group C Champions League match at a rain-soaked Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
AC_MILAN_Kaka was the main attraction as he faced Milan for the first time since leaving the club for Real in the summer but it was the 20-year-old Pato, touted as his successor, who took the headlines scoring an 88th minute winner to inflict Real’s first European defeat of the season as Milan joined Real on six points at the top of the group.

Real led through Raul’s 19th goal following a terrible howler from Milan goalkeeper Dida, but Milan scored twice in four minutes through Andrea Pirlo (62) and Pato (64) to turn the game on its head.

Dutch midfielder Roysten Drenthe thought he was Real’s saviour with a 76th minute equaliser to delight the fans who have often jeered him but Pato struck again in the dying minutes of the game with a clinical finish.

Real travel to Milan on November 3 for the next group match with Milan now slight favourites to win the group due to home advantage.

All eyes were on Kaka before kick-off as the Brazilian, a 65-million-euro capture from Milan, faced the club where he made his name before Milan’s financial problems persuaded him to leave.

It was also an emotional night for 33-year-old Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf who returned to Real with whom he won the 1998 Champions League.

With Cristiano Ronaldo, top-scorer in this season’s Champions League, out injured Karim Benzema started alongside veteran Raul up front.

Real coach Manuel Pellegrini played down Ronaldo’s absence.

"We had the game under control and it all changed suddenly in a few minutes," said Pellegrini.

"We need our best players and Cristiano (Ronaldo) is one of them but we didn’t lose because he wasn’t playing. We lost because we made defensive mistakes and got punished by an experienced Milan team."

For Milan’s coach Leonardo it was a welcome filip in what has been a tough season thus far.

"Of course I am really happy," said the former Brazilian international midfielder.

"It is highly satisfying for me to find solutions for the way we are playing on the pitch."

Milan’s veteran defender Gianluca Zambrotta, who played for Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona briefly, said that the vast experience of the Italian side’s players had helped them through.

"We are all internationals and we have all experienced tough moments before," said the World Cup winning defender.

"But this evening we had for the first time the pride to play a big match.

"However, it is true to say that Real Madrid didn’t play very well."

Leonardo’s starting line-up was very attack-minded with Brazilians Ronaldinho and Pato providing the supply line for predator Filippo Inzaghi.

Real old boy Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, sold after just seven months at the club, had to be content with a place on the bench on his return to the Spanish capital.

It was a low-key opening as both sides felt each other out with jeers for former Barca player Ronaldinho, wearing the number 80 shirt, and a penalty shout for a foul on Benzema.

Milan goalkeeper Dida had little to do and looked to have everything under control in saving Raul’s tame shot after 19 minutes. Dida held the shot but then inexplicably dropped the ball into Raul’s path for the disbelieving captain to stroke home.

At the other end Real custodian Iker Casillas could have gone into the stands to watch the game with Milan failing to muster a single shot in the first half.

Kaka had been quiet but came to life at the beginning of the second half zipping a shot just wide and then forcing a save from Dida who was desperate to atone for his gaffe.

Real were trying to force the issue for a second goal with Milan looking marginally more threatening and in the 62nd minute Pirlo equalised out of the blue. The Italy World Cup winner caught Casillas off-guard with a fierce dipping shot from 30 yards out.

Two minutes later Casillas mistimed coming out of his goal, missed the ball, and Pato rolled into an empty net. However, substitute Drenthe equalised 12 minutes later with a left-footed drive in a frantic spell.

Both teams had goals disallowed in the closing stages and Milan were incensed with the referee with ex-Madrid star Seedorf playing the peacemaker role. Pato then had the final say, striking two minutes from time, to gift victory to the seven-time European champions.

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