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Messi and Cesc after scoring a goal / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

FC Barcelona couldn’t be resuming their Champions League bid at a more enticing venue than the majestic San Siro. They visit AC Milan in the round of 16 of the competition with their sights set on a good result that will set them up for the decisive fixture back at the Camp Nou on March 12. As always, an away goal would do wonders for that. A year ago, in the quarter finals, Barça came to the same place and left with a 0-0 draw, enough to remind everyone that this will be no easy mission.

Xavi in doubt

Jordi Roura has twenty players to pick from, but two of those will have to be dropped before kickoff. Adriano and David Villa both miss the match through injury, while there is also a question mark over the head of Xavi Hernández, who has missed the last two Liga outings. If he is not up to playing the full match, then he is likely to be replaced by Thiago, who already filled in for the midfielder against Getafe and Granada.

Two form teams

Both sides are going into the match on the back of a good season so far. Barça are running away with the Spanish Championship, while AC Milan are also on top in Serie A, and have yet to lose in 2013 following five wins and two draws. Curiously, all four games that they have played at home since Christmas have ended 2-1. Massimiliano Allegri was able to announce on the eve of the match that El Shaarawy will be able to play.

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