AC Milan got away with producing an underwhelming performance as Gonzalo Higuain's deflected second-half goal secured them a 1-0 win over Luxembourg's Dudelange in their Europa League opener.
Gennaro Gattuso named a strong side that, for most of the first hour, looked incapable of breaking down theoretically hugely inferior opposition, and in the end their winning goal proved highly fortunate.
Milan were especially poor in the first half, hardly causing their modest opposition any problems at all at the back, with Dudelange arguably crafting the better opportunities.
But Gattuso's men stepped things up a notch after the break, finding the net - with a little help of a deflection - through Higuain in the 59th minute and that proved to be enough to open their Group F account.
Despite Milan's superior quality on paper, Dudelange actually crafted the better chances in the first half.
David Turpel fired over from Kevin Malget's cut-back in the 32nd minute, before Dominik Stolz followed suit from a tight angle after being released into the left side of the box soon after.
Milan eventually went close just before the break, but Mattia Caldara's header went well over despite being unmarked at a corner.
The visitors began the second half with renewed purpose and quickly went close - Joe Frising denying Higuain, who had met Diego Laxalt's cut-back.
But Higuain got lucky just before the hour, receiving Samu Castillejo's pass on the edge of the area and finding the net via a hefty deflection.A Castillejo cross shortly after found Fabio Borini, who hit the post from close range, but it mattered little as Milan comfortably held on.
What it means: Milan some way off being considered a genuine contender
Milan are certainly - historically - one of the biggest clubs in this year's competition, but they showed no signs on Thursday that they are going to go the distance.
Aside from Castillejo, there was very little creativity on display, while at the back they appeared susceptible, as Dudelange caused them more issues than perhaps would have been expected.
Rest assured, Olympiacos and Real Betis will give them a real examination.
Pat on the back: Castillejo with the craft
While he was by no means outstanding, Castillejo was Milan's standout player in attack. His final pass was disappointing in the first half, but he persisted with attacking in his usual direct manner and eventually set up Higuain's goal. He almost got a second assist, but Borini was thwarted by the frame of the goal.
Boot up the backside: Caldara fails to convince
Milan were better defensively after the break, but beforehand they were caused issues and Caldara was particularly unconvincing, letting Stolz escape him for the hosts' best chance, while also wasting a good opportunity at the other end.
Dudelange return to domestic action at the weekend and have three matches before their next Europa League clash, which is a trip to Real Betis on October 4. Milan, on the other hand, host Atalanta looking to claim their second Serie A win of the season.
|Wallabies centre Hodge suffers fractured ankle|
|Koepka claims top ranking with CJ Cup win|
|Dramatic Dovizioso crash gifts Marquez MotoGP title in Japan|
|LeBron´s home debut ends in defeat, Walker makes NBA history|
|Rondo, Ingram and Paul exchange punches in Lakers-Rockets clash|
|Dodgers to face Red Sox in World Series after beating Brewers|
|Valverde doesn´t care about extending Barca contract|
|Qualifying speed a ´positive surprise´ for Ferrari´s Vettel|
|I was in a different headspace – Hamilton revels in Austin pole|
|Barcelona can cope without Messi – Pique|
|Allegri: Juventus abandoned Genoa clash|
|Sale: Hospital visit was because of belly button ring|
|Valverde accepts Barcelona will miss Messi|
|No Messi or Ronaldo in El Clasico for first time since 2007|
|Barcelona have not won a Clasico without Messi since his debut|
|Ramos calls for Real Madrid unity after latest loss piles pressure on Lopetegui|
|Hamilton has title in sights after storming to Austin pole|
|Inter, El Clasico and more - the games Messi will miss with broken arm|
|End of Messi-Ronaldo duel good for LaLiga - Simeone|
|Messi out of Clasico with fractured arm|
|Awesome Ashton marks Sale bow with hat-trick|
|Klopp hopes for positive Henderson prognosis amid Liverpool injury issues|
|Benitez ´convinced´ Newcastle can survive despite seventh defeat|
|Barcelona 4 Sevilla 2: Messi injured but champions go top|
|Kovac relieved by Bayern´s timely victory|
|Strasbourg 2 Monaco 1: Sy howler and Grandsir red card cost Henry in first match|
|Leicester City defender Chilwell signs new six-year contract|
|PSG´s Tuchel hopes Verratti and Di Maria can face Napoli|
|Liverpool star Salah had no fear during scoring drought|
|Alonso´s 2019 plans not damaged by McLaren´s IndyCar decision|
|Edinburgh outclass troubled Toulon, Wasps and Bath play out thrilling draw|
|Barca concern as Messi substituted with worrying arm injury|
|Howe: South coast derby draw a fair result|
|Our heads were in Manchester – Allegri left fuming at Juventus´ loss of focus|
|Derby County 2 Sheffield United 1: Marriott blunts Blades with 77th-minute winner|
|We have so many problems – Jokanovic alarmed by Fulham defensive woes|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Liverpool 1: Salah snaps winless streak|
|Pellegrini ruing injuries after Yarmolenko hurts ankle|
|Villarreal 1 Atletico Madrid 1: Simeone´s side denied LaLiga top spot|
|Gracia: Not easy to dominate Wolves like that|
|Isner´s Finals hopes hindered by Stockholm defeat|
|Dyche incredulous at refereeing decisions in Man City thrashing|
|Juventus 1 Genoa 1: Champions´ winning run ends despite record Ronaldo goal|
|´Fantastic´ Lamela urged to find consistency by Pochettino|
|You don´t want to lose any players - Young speaks out on Wade NFL speculation|
|Championship Review: Smith gets off to a winning start, Leeds beaten|
|Guardiola hails extraordinary Fernandinho after Burnley drubbing|
|Pochettino lauds Lloris as one of world´s best after West Ham heroics|
|Paris Saint-Germain 5 Amiens 0: Ten wins in a row for PSG as Neymar rests|
|Cristiano Ronaldo nets record 400th league goal|
|Marcelo backing beleaguered Lopetegui despite Madrid slump|
|Garcia dazzles to hit the front at shortened Valderrama Masters|
|Cardiff City 4 Fulham 2: Paterson gets Bluebirds off the mark|
|Newcastle United 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Benitez´s men bottom after dismal defeat|
|West Ham 0 Tottenham 1: In-form Lamela settles London derby|
|Manchester City 5 Burnley 0: De Bruyne returns in comfortable win|
|Wolves 0 Watford 2: Capoue and Pereyra turn form book on its head|
|Bournemouth 0 Southampton 0: Howe´s side stifled by Saints|
|Prove you´re crazy about Inter - Spalletti rallies players ahead of Milan derby|
|Wolfsburg 1 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski leads Kovac out of trouble|
|Goerges betters Bencic to clinch Luxembourg title|
|Morgan wants more from ´rusty´ England despite series win|
|Sarri says sorry after touchline bust-up overshadows Chelsea´s late escape|
|Chelsea draw an ´awful´ result for excellent United, says Mourinho|
|The Chelsea assistant that angered Mourinho - Who is Marco Ianni?|
|Steve Kerr supports Colin Kaepernick: ´I think he deserves a chance to play´|
|Lopetegui ´more motivated than ever´ amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|That´s football – Rudiger shrugs off late Ianni-Mourinho fracas|
|AC Milan´s improved mentality could be difference against Inter - Gattuso|
|Emotional Kasatkina comes back from the brink to win Kremlin Cup|