Barça took a 0-0 draw from Milan at the San Siro tonight - leaving the return game at the Camp Nou to decide who gets through to the Champions League semi-final
Milan were hemmed into their own half, especially before the break and at the end of the game
It’s all square after the first leg in Milan, with Barça undoubtedly the winners on points – having dominated, particularly in the first half and making the chances – with three good penalty shouts ignored. However, in football it’s goals that count and Barça weren’t quite able to get on the scoresheet tonight, leaving the Camp Nou to decide who gets through to the last four.
Early chance for hosts
Although it was Barça who dominated throughout the first half, Milan had the first chance, when Robinho failed to put away a good chance after just 2 minutes after Milan had pressed the Barça defence to get possession. Messi’s genius soon began to come through though and after about ten minutes the team began to settle and threaten Abbiati - who committed what looked to be a clear penalty on Alexis on 15 minutes.
Barça lay siege to Milan goal
Barça now began to take control – despite the poor state of the pitch – whilst Milan were forced back and tried to hit the visitors on the break, with Valdes making a good stop from one such counter when Ibrahimovic got through. It was becoming an all action game though, played at a hectic pace which really didn’t suit Barça’s game plan.
But Barça were not to be held back and they soon imposed themselves, with Xavi coming close to repeating his goal in the 2-3 result in the Group stage, only for Abbiati to push his effort wide. The Milan fans were whistling at the extended periods of possession Barça were enjoying, as Guardiola’s men began to lay siege to the Milan area, forcing the Italians to sit ever deeper.
Milan brought on El Shaarawy for Robinho soon after the break and that seemed to give them an extra boost, as they opened up a little, only to come up against an impeccable back four. The game entered a rather less exciting phase now and Guardiola brought on Tello on 64 minutes to inject a little more penetration.
With the youngster out on the left, the team certainly recovered some of their sharpness and only some good covering denied Messi on 77 minutes, with Puyol getting on the end of the resulting corner and also looking to be fouled. Milan’s defence was never going to be easy to break down though and they appeared to accept the draw as a good result as they withdrew even further back. A double chance for Messi and Alves and what looked like another penalty committed on the Argentinean nearly ruined the Italians’ game plan, but in the end it’s all to play for next week at the Camp Nou.