Milan wins 24-penalty shootout to reach Europa League group stage 

AC Milan, unbeaten since March 8, was trailing 2-1 until Hakan Calhanoglu levelled the game and took the game into a thrilling shootout finish

Seven-times European champion AC Milan edged out Portugal's Rio Ave in a thrilling 9-8 finish in the penalty shootout   -  Twitter/AC Milan

 Seven-times European champion AC Milan scored a penalty at the end of extra-time before winning a 24-penalty shootout against Portugal's Rio Ave on Thursday to squeeze into the Europa League group stage.

Milan, unbeaten in all competitions since March 8, was trailing 2-1 until Rio Ave defender Toni Borekovic handled in the area and Hakan Calhanoglu made it 2-2 from the spot with the last kick of the match.

Both sides converted their first seven penalties in the shootout, missed their eighth and scored the ninth.

They then missed two in a row each, with the two goalkeepers Pawel Kieszek and Gianluigi Donnarumma among the culprits, before Simon Kjaer converted Milan's 12th attempt and Aderaln Santos's effort was stopped by Donnarumma as Milan won 9-8.

Alex Saelemaekers had given Milan a 51st-minute lead before Francisco Geraldes levelled and Gelson put Rio Ave 2-1 ahead at the start of extra-time.

"It's a magical night, for us it would have been a shame not to get past this round," Milan coach Stefano Pioli said. "This victory gives us strength to keep working and winning."

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