Boys from Brazil secure point for Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Robinho GettyImagesRobinho celebrates the opener for Milan.

As expected, it took a disciplined and focused effort from Milan at San Siro on Tuesday night, with Robinho's early strike helping to secure a 1-1 draw against Barcelona. Along with Kaka, there was plenty of imagination to go with the spirit on display, and it could well be a vital point moving forward.

The strategy was almost identical to the one deployed in the memorable win over the Spanish giants last season, whereby the Rossoneri remained compact throughout and allowed little space between the lines. However, they were ultimately undone by an error in the build-up to Lionel Messi's equaliser.

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While there were notable performances across the pitch, namely in midfield with the trio of Sulley Muntari, Riccardo Montolivo and Nigel De Jong working tirelessly to close down the space and limit Barcelona through the middle, the performances from Robinho and Kaka in the first-half were arguably the highlight of the game.

The Brazilians appeared to be in confident mood as there was an element of panache to go with their hard work, with Robinho putting on a show at times with his trickery.

However, perhaps the limelight was stolen from him by Kaka who displayed a change in pace that was synonymous with his game in his first spell with the club, while also showing real drive and determination in not only getting past his man but also in taking care of his defensive duties.

Furthermore, considering that he is still recovering from his latest injury setback and is short of full match fitness, he showed enough to suggest that he will play an integral role for Massimiliano Allegri for the rest of the season.

Nevertheless, it wasn't enough to seal the victory, but as pointed out by Montolivo in his post-game interview, there were also plenty of positives considering Milan will perhaps feel aggrieved not to have taken more from the game.

Inevitably, Barcelona dominated possession and had their chances, but it didn't necessarily feel as though the Rossoneri were completely out-played throughout. Allegri spoke of the importance of the spirit the players showed and admitted that tactics can only get you so far.

In terms of where the result leaves Milan in Group H, it could be a decisive point as they remain two points ahead of Celtic who will probably emerge as their biggest threat for second place in the group.

While it will be hugely difficult to achieve a repeat result in Spain in a fortnight's time, judging from their performance on Tuesday night it isn't impossible for Milan to cause a shock if they can maintain the same discipline.

In addition, Mattia De Sciglio, Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli will all hopefully be fully fit when the fixture arrives, giving Allegri further reason to be confident of having the cutting edge required to topple the Catalans.

The more immediate concern now though is that the Rossoneri recover and continue their turnaround against Parma on Sunday. Given the nature of the performance there will undoubtedly be tired legs and minds, but Allegri and his troops should be delighted with their efforts.

Impressed with Milan's performance? With that same spirit, how good can they be in Europe with a fully fit squad?


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