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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Milan Downs Loko to Seal Place in Quarterfinals

ReutersRivaldo fighting for the ball with Lokomotiv's Vladimir Maminov during Tuesday's match. Lokomotiv needed a win to keep a realistic chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.
Brazilian striker Rivaldo spoiled Lokomotiv Moscow's chance at Champions League glory Tuesday, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win that secured AC Milan's place in the quarterfinals.

It was the second loss for Lokomotiv in a week, having fallen to Milan 1-0 in Italy. The Russian Premier League champion needed a win to have a realistic chance of securing a place in the quarterfinals.

Milan maintained its 100 percent record with a fourth consecutive 1-0 win.

In front of a packed Lokomotiv Stadium, Rivaldo scored what proved to be the game winner on a penalty kick in the 34th minute after a dubious call by Greek referee Kyros Vassaras.

Vassaras pointed to the spot after judging that Lokomotiv defender Vadim Yevseyev had held down Milan's Filippo Inzaghi.

Lokomotiv coach Yury Syomin criticized the referee after the game, but praised his team. "That was definitely a doubtful decision, but our team played very well and they prepared well," he said.

Lokomotiv captain Dmitry Loskov and international defender Gennady Nizhegorodov added to the misery by picking up yellow cards and will miss the game against Borussia Dortmund on March 12.

Milan had the first scoring chance after 15 minutes, when Clarence Seedorf redirected Rivaldo's low free kick from the left goalwards. But Sergei Ovchinnikov made a point-blank save.

Seedorf tested Ovchinnikov again six minutes later with a well-taken volley from 10 meters, but once again Ovchinnikov was equal to the task.

Rivaldo then fired a 20-meter free kick just wide of the left-hand post in an action-packed first half hour.

Milan had the better of the first half and always looked more talented. But Lokomotiv was not completely outshown and gave a spirited effort in the second half as the midfielders regrouped.

Syomin singled out for praise midfielder Marat Izmailov, who is recovering from an injury he sustained last year. "We are just getting to see the Izmailov of old before his injury," he said.

Brazilian Julio Cesar challenged the Milan defense on a number of occasions in the second half, nearly darting past Georgian Kakha Kaladze on the right wing.

Rivaldo and late substitute Rui Costa could have added a second in the dying minutes, but both just missed the target.

"I want to congratulate the players, especially for their display in the second half," Syomin said. "The game will help us for the domestic championship."

Milan, which was without Ukrainian star Andrei Shevchenko, who was diagnosed with the flu, now leads Group C on 12 points.

Lokomotiv is last with a single point from four games, while European champion Real Madrid is second with four points and Dortmund is third with three points. Madrid and Dortmund were scheduled to play later Tuesday in Germany.

Milan captain Paolo Maldini celebrated the victory in style by breaking Giuseppe Bergomi's Italian record for appearances in European competition after playing a full 90 minutes.

It took Maldini's appearance in all of UEFA's club competitions to 118 games, breaking the old mark set by the former Inter Milan defender. Maldini, 35, has played a full 90 minutes in all but five of his matches.

(MT, Reuters)