Milan won't appeal after Dida hit in Celtic win

GLASGOW Wed Oct 3, 2007 11:44pm BST

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GLASGOW (Reuters) - Holders AC Milan will not ask for Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat at Celtic to be overturned after goalkeeper Dida was struck in the face by a fan towards the end of the match.

"We will not appeal. It is a decision that I have agreed with the president Silvio Berlusconi," Milan vice president Adriano Galliani told Rai TV. "It is a decision we have taken because we are European champions and must behave like that."

Dida was carried off on a stretcher after the incident in which a supporter ran on to the pitch following Scott McDonald's late winner in the Group D clash.

After being clipped by the fan in his goalmouth, the Brazilian keeper initially gave chase before suddenly collapsing to the ground holding his face.

"When Dida went down it had nothing to do with the result anyway. We made a mistake with the defence," coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.

"A fan must never enter the field of play but I don't believe Dida has done anything serious. Now I will see how he is," he added to SKY television.

Dida was struck by a flare in a Champions League quarter- final second leg with Inter Milan in 2005 and that match was abandoned and handed to Milan, who were 3-0 up on aggregate at the time.

UEFA's director of communications William Gaillard told the BBC it would wait for the referee's report before making a decision on whether to punish Celtic over the episode.

FULL INVESTIGATION

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan said he did not see the incident but a spokesman for the Glasgow club said: "Celtic will launch a full investigation and there will be a full statement tomorrow."

The Scottish champions went ahead after a dull, rain-lashed first half when captain Stephen McManus bundled in a close-range shot at the back post after Aiden McGeady's corner skidded across the face of goal in the 62nd minute.

The ball took a last touch off Milan's Yoann Gourcuff.

The Italians levelled from a penalty six minutes later, awarded when Lee Naylor pulled down Massimo Ambrosini. Kaka sent Celtic keeper Artur Boruc the wrong way from the spot, before McDonald grabbed the winner in the 90th minute.

"I didn't think it was a penalty," Strachan said. "I don't think the ball was anywhere near the lad it was that high. I felt aggrieved at that (decision).

"It's been a wonderful couple of nights," he added. "For Rangers to beat Lyon and then us to beat the European champions and with Scotland also doing so well (in World Cup qualifiers), it's been excellent."

(Additional reporting by Mark Meadows in Milan)

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