AC Milan v FC Barcelona –
Final Score/Result: AC Milan 1-1 Barcelona
Man Of The Match: Sergio Busquets
AC Milan put up a spirited performance to hold off FC Barcelona at San Siro as the match ended 1-1.
In form Barcelona came into this game as the outright favourites, but it was the home side who took an early when Kaka set up fellow countrymen Robinho to score in the 9th minute of the match. Barcelona responded well to that goal and threatened to breach the Milan defence. Finally in the 23rd minute of the game Andres Iniesta found Lionel Messi in lot space on the right and the Argentine international cut back to his favoured left foot and finished past Amelia.
Barcelona dominated possession in the game from that point and Milan sat back and kept themselves organised. The Catalan side created a lot of openings but failed to find the winner in the end. Milan themselves had two glorious opportunities to score their second goal, one of which fell to Mexes in the first half from a corner, but he headed wide. The second chance fell to Robinho, who found himself in acres of space in the Barcelona box but failed to control Muntari’s wonderful pass from the left.
This draw at San Siro means Barcelona remain at the top of their group with seven points and a win against Milan at home in the next game could virtually book them a place in the next round. Milan on the other hand remains in hunt with five points from three games and are still unbeaten in Group H.
Gerardo Martino has now seen his team score just one goal in their last two games – against Osasuna and Milan – despite creating chances and dominating possession. He felt that his side deserved more than a draw in this match and rued the early error which lead to Milan’s goal.
“When you think in terms of qualifying for the next round, the result is a good one. Looking at the game, we deserved more. We didn’t start well and that led to us conceding a goal. Robinho and Kaká made life complicated for us at the beginning. After we drew level we had four or five chances to win it.
“It was similar to what happened against Osasuna [0-0 at the weekend] – we controlled the game and did enough to win. We had chances and tried to take the three points, but in the end we couldn’t. [The result] doesn’t take away from the efforts of the team – in fact, it puts us in a favourable position. We moved the ball well, while Milan very seldom got forward. We committed one error at the start of the match and paid too high a price for that. Now we look ahead to [Real] Madrid [on Saturday] and the team we will put together.” – The Barcelona manager said.
Massimiliano Allegri on the other hand was delighted with his side’s performance on the night and felt that this is a positive result in their bid to qualify for the next round. He also heaped praise on Kaka, who assisted the opening goal.
“The boys played well, giving Barcelona no room to be dangerous and hitting them on the counter. We made just one mistake defensively and they punished us. We created more chances tonight than in the match we won [2-0] last season [against Barcelona in the round of 16], but this is a good result because we still have a two-point advantage over Celtic. Kaká gave a wonderful performance, showing he is a great player with his commitment to the team.
“When you face Barcelona you need to have a thousand eyes, because they can come at you from everywhere. Our defence coped pretty well with the help of the midfielders and forwards. We also played good football up front and I’m satisfied with the display.” – The AC Milan manager said.
AC Milan v Barcelona – Statistics
Sergio Busquets put up a brilliant performance for Barcelona in the center of the park. He controlled the midfield along with Xavi and made 122 passes at a success rate of 93%. He was also good defensively in intercepting balls and denying the opponents any time or space on the ball when they had it. The above heat-map shows his movement and positioning on the pitch against Milan.