Whitehawk recorded a thrilling 4-2 victory over AC Milan at the San Siro in their second group stage fixture of this season's UEFA Champions League. Whitehawk came back from a goal down at half time to secure an impressive victory, as Irish striker Jason Coffey scored a hat trick, and assisted another, in an emphatic performance.
4-2 Win vs AC Milan - UEFA Champions League
Coffey Was In Prolific Form And Duly Earned His Man Of The Match Award
Sir Ryan Ferguson faced a number of injury problems, with all three natural wide left attackers ruled out of action for several weeks. Eighteen year old striker Tomas Mrva was trusted with the left wing role, while Martin Ødegaard filled in for the missing Kingsley Osagie in attacking midfield.
Reported Whitehawk target Gianluigi Donnarumma captained AC Milan, and the twenty-eight year old goalkeeper had a full strength team in front of him. Veteran defender Alessio Romagnoli partnered Santos in the middle of defence, while Spanish international Mario Gómez started up front as a lone striker for the Italian side.
AC Milan had the frame of their goal to thank in the early stages of the game as Whitehawk so nearly broke the deadlock in the thirteenth minute. Anton Nyman and Martin Ødegaard played the ball around AC Milan's defence excellently, with the latter teeing up Miroslav Novakovic for a one-on-one effort. However, the Serbian's driven effort crashed off the post and bounced away.
Jason Coffey would go on to be the most influential player on the pitch, and he left his mark as early as the sixteenth minute. A loose back pass from José Mauri allowed the Irishman to break on to the ball, and the Irishman coolly rolled the ball underneath the onrushing Donnarumma to give Whitehawk a priceless lead.
The goal seemed to invigorate AC Milan more than it did Whitehawk, and the hosts were applying excruciating pressure on the visitors. Mario Gómez had worked space out left, and cut back for Stanislav Hasek to fire a powerful drive at Whitehawk's goal. However, Predrag Rajkovic proved to be more than up to the task, and got two strong hands to the ball to palm it away.
Milan's pressure would eventually pay dividends, and Stanislav Hasek would get his goal, with twelve minutes remaining in the first half. Júnior was allowed too much space in the box, and his low cross was converted by Hasek to level the score.
The hosts would then go on to take the lead five minutes later. It was a counter attack of dreams as Stanislav Hasek stormed down the left wing. His low cross towards the near post was converted by Mario Gómez, giving AC Milan the lead heading in to half time.
The Spanish striker should have doubled his tally, and Milan's lead, minutes in to the second half. Júnior's through ball split Whitehawk's defence, but Gómez could only fire his shot high and wide when one-on-one.
Moments later, and Jason Coffey came to life. The Irishman held off José Mauri with his back to goal and gave possession to team mate Miroslav Novakovic. The Serb moved forward before returning the ball to Coffey, who had darted in to the penalty area, and the Irishman finished high in to the top corner to restore parity.
A mighty warrior arose out of Jason Coffey, and he presented Novakovic with the perfect opportunity to score on the hour mark. The Irishman spun away from two defenders on the edge of AC Milan's penalty area before teeing up the Serb, but Novakovic's effort was parried away by Donnarumma.
Coffey would get his assist, as substitute Sergi Samper put Whitehawk back in front. Tomas Mrva lead a threatening counter attack forward for Whitehawk, and his low ball to the edge of the area was clinically flicked on by Jason Coffey in to the path of Sergi Samper, who buried his effort beyond Donnarumma to put Whitehawk in to the ascendancy.
Coffey was not finished there, and would go on to complete a hat trick. With less than fifteen minutes remaining, Whitehawk were hungry for more goals and attacked with pace and purpose. Novakovic picked out Anton Nyman on the edge of Milan's box, and the Swedish midfielder reversed the ball first time in to the path of Coffey, who powered an unstoppable drive across goal to seal a memorable hat trick, and truly silence the AC Milan fans.
Jason Coffey (Whitehawk) - 9.6/10
Ryan Ferguson's Interview
"Well it was a terrific game with plenty of excitement! We did brilliantly initially to take the lead, but then AC Milan showed greater character for the remainder of the first half and they deserved to be leading at the break. Credit has to go to our players for their second half performance, though, as they produced an incredible display of attack quality.
(Jason) Coffey was incredible. He was tremendous in front of goal and deservedly took the match ball home. His finishing was fantastic, and so was his creativity. He set up a number of good chances for the others and played his role absolutely brilliantly.
The result leaves us with six points from a possible six, which we can only be delighted with. We still have four more games left to play in the group stage, and each game will be as important as the last. Hopefully we can take this momentum and continue scoring as we have done in recent weeks."
, the EFL Cup will certainly not be a trophy neglected by Whitehawk while I'm in charge! Every trophy is important, and we'll try our best to fight on all fronts!
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