UEFA Champions League

April 3, 2012

Full-time

Barcelona

3 - 1

AC Milan

UEFA Champions League

18:45 +00:00, April 3, 2012

Camp Nou

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers

2nd Leg: 3 - 1 (Agg)

  •  

    Thanks for joining us and stick with ESPNsoccernet for the post-match coverage.

  •  

    Milan will rue the concession of two penalties, but they were well beaten on the night and struggled to carve out clear-cut chances.

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    Barcelona secure a 3-1 aggregate victory that takes them through to a semi-final tie against Chelsea or Benfica.

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    FULL TIME

  • 93'

    Milan lump a free-kick into the area. It's cleared, and when Thiago runs clear with the ball Nocerino fouls him yet another booking.

  • 92'

    Messi curls the ball over the bar. Looks like he'll have to settle for a penalty brace.

  • 92'

    Maxi Lopez talks himself into a booking too.

  • 92'

    Messi lines up the free-kick.

  • 90'

    Mexes angrily barges into the back of Busquets to bring an end to the party piece.

  • 90'

    Messi tries to round off his night with a third goal, and then does a few keepie-uppies when he's denied.

  • 89'

    Milan put a few neat passes together on the edge of the Barca area and, when a ball is played into the box, Valdes fumbles and nearly offers Milan a late lifeline. But Barca clear.

  • 87'

    Adriano has a chance as he runs onto Mascherano's neat pass, but he makes a mess of the finish.

  • 87'

    Cuenca puts the ball in, but Abbaiti claims, and then Alves centres for Messi. The ball is loose, and the Argentine has the chance to complete his hat-trick, but Milan get there first.

  • 86'

    Down the other end, Barca break away but, when the attack founders, Cuenca pulls Mexes' shirt and gets himself a (soft) booking.

  • 85'

    Maxi Lopez feeds Ibrahimovic, who's tackled, and when it comes back to the sub he runs into trouble.

  • 85'

    Cuenca races away down the right and puts a cross in, but Milan get it clear.

  • 83'

    Pato's off again, with Maxi Lopez replacing him. Seems the specialists in the US may not have fixed Pato's problems.

  • 82'

    Barca still in control, with Milan still looking to counter but struggling to create any clear-cut chances.

  • 80'

    Nocerino tries to cushion the ball into the area as he receives a pass out on the right, but it's easily dealt with.

  • 79'

    Ambrosini lofts a ball over the top, but it's out for a goal kick.

  • 78'


    Andres Iniesta celebrates his goal.

  • 78'

    Fabregas now gets a rest, with Keita the final Barca change.

  • 77'

    Robinho fouls Iniesta as Barca break away and gets a booking.

  • 76'

    Pato could have been clean through but, understandably rusty, his touch let him down.

  • 76'


    Andres Iniesta lifts the ball past Christian Abbiati to make it 3-1 to Barca.

  • 75'

    Adriano replaces Pique. The centre-back walked off, so it may be precautionary.

  • 74'

    Pique is down and seems to have hurt himself.

  • 73'

    Ibrahimovic plays a neat chipped pass to Nocerino on the right flank. The ball comes in for Aquilani at the far post, but Alves gets a touch.

  • 72'

    Nocerino fails to win a free-kick from a Fabregas challenge, and Barca break away.

  • 70'

    Messi looks to break away, but he's muscled out again.

  • 69'

    Pato comes on in place of Boateng.

  • 69'

    Thiago receives a pass from Messi just to the left of the goal, but his finish is wayward as he fires across the face. Goal kick.

  • 68'

    Alves races towards the area and plays the pass for Messi, but it's intercepted and Abbiati hoofs clear.

  • 67'

    Milan nearly make something with Abate on the right finding Robinho, whose pass on the turn is intercepted. That could very easily have resulted in a goal.

  • 66'

    Mascherano piles in to Robinho and, though he got the ball, the ref thought it a little strong, so he gets a booking.

  • 65'

    Thiago looks to play in Fabregas on the edge of the area, but the pass clips the former Arsenal man's heels.

  • 64'

    Milan play their way out of trouble after Fabregas' centre. The sting has disappeared from the game since Iniesta's strike.

  • 63'

    Milan are charging down the Barca defenders a lot at the moment, trying to put a bit of pressure on.

  • 63'

    Xavi, who'd been doubtful before the game, is given as rest as Thiago replaces him.

  • 61'

    Robinho blocks a Pique clearance and runs clean through on goal, but Valdes makes the save. Plus the ref says it was handball, so it mattered not a jot anyway.

  • 61'

    Seedorf departs and is replaced by Aquilani.

  • 60'

    Boateng heads over the bar from the corner, and then resumes his discussion with Mascherano.

  • 59'

    Milan have a corner, and Boateng is unhappy with Mascherano for some reason.

  • 59'


    Lionel Messi sends Christian Abbiati the wrong way for his second penalty of the night.

  • 58'

    Alves tries a shot from the edge of the area and, when it deflects back into his path, chips into the area, but it comes to nothing.

  • 56'

    Messi burst through towards the left of the area and attempts an audacious chip, which he now seems to do every time he gets into the area. Anyway, over the bar.

  • 54'

    Game over now, you'd think.

  • 53'

    Messi's shot was blocked, the ball bounced to Iniesta on the left of the area, and he coolly curled the ball beyond Abbiati.

  • 53'

    GOAL FOR BARCELONA!

  • 53'

    Milan play the corner short, Nocerino lofts in towards the far post, but the flag's up.

  • 52'

    Messi receives the ball in the area but is denied by a good challenge, and Milan break, winning a corner through Boateng.

  • 52'

    Cuenca, out on the right, puts in another cross that's cleared.

  • 50'


    Lionel Messi converts the first of his two penalties

  • 50'

    Ibrahimovic rises to meet the ball as the corner is headed back into the danger area, but Valdes leaps and claims.

  • 49'

    Mascherano gets the ball away for a corner as Ibrahimovic again threatens to cause some damage.

  • 49'

    Xavi takes the free-kick, and it just eludes the top corner! That was a fine effort.

  • 48'

    Messi is bundled over by Boateng in a dangerous position.

  • 46'

    Ibrahimovic receives the ball in the area and, unable to get a shot away, goes down under a Mascherano challenge. That could have been given. Wasn't though.

  • 46'

    MILAN GET THE GAME BACK UNDERWAY

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    ESPNsoccernet contributor Chris Atkins tweets: "My big issue with that penalty is that Puyol clearly is blocking Nesta. He was pulling Busquets, but being blocked himself"

  •  

    Apparently, this is the first time Milan have ever given away two penalties in a Champions League match.

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    Tommy Smyth adds his view: "All I will have to say is if that is a PK then there are PK on every corner kick.If you call that how can you not make a call on Puyol."

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    ESPN's Janusz Michallik tweets: "The easiest rule to fix. Players know they can get away with it 99% of the time. Not consistent and players R confused when these are given."

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    On the penalty decision, Rio Ferdinand tweets: "The ref has followed the rules there...shirt pull = foul. Messi = nerveless"

  •  

    Milan, despite their struggles, are still very much in the tie. As we saw with the Nocerino goal, a little bit of quality can make all the difference and, if they were to equalise, they would lead on away goals.

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    Barca are deservedly in the lead, though they've had to rely on the charity of their visitors. The second penalty might appear harsh, since that kind of shirt-pulling goes on all the time, but it was a foul nonetheless.

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    HALF-TIME

  • 45'

    Ibra fires straight into the wall. Given that Xavi was part of the wall, you might suggest he should have done better.

  • 45'

    Zlatan fancies it, unsurprisingly.

  • 45'

    Milan have a free-kick in a dangerous position as Xavi fouls Ambrosini.

  • 44'

    Cuenca crosses and Messi diverts the ball, seemingly obliviously, towards goal, but Abbiati stretches to make the save. Barca appeal for another penalty afterwards for handball, but don't get this one.

  • 43'

    Messi looks to dance his way through but Mexes gets a toe in. Barca on the attack still.

  • 42'

    So he's now scored three penalties against Milan but has still yet to score against an Italian side in open play.

  • 42'

    Messi fires into the bottom right corner and Barca have the lead once more.

  • 41'

    GOAL FOR BARCELONA!

  • 41'

    It was certainly a foul, although it was the kind of foul refs tend to ignore.

  • 41'

    Now Seedorf's got a penalty for complaining.

  • 40'

    PENALTY TO BARCELONA Yep, it's another penalty. Nesta had hold of Busquets' shirt.

  • 40'

    Nesta gets a booking.

  • 40'

    As the corner goes in, Barca are asking for a penalty. It seems to be one...

  • 39'

    Xavi fires a low shot from the edge of the area again, and it deflects for a corner.

  • 38'

    Fabregas attempts a low shot from just outside the area but, again, it's not causing Abbiati too much trouble. At the other end, Ibrahimovic received the ball into the area but was quickly closed out.

  • 37'

    Barca have a free-kick, and Messi puts an inswinger into the danger area, but it's straight through for the 'keeper.

  • 36'

    Xavi unleashes a powerful shot from outside the area, but it's not powerful enough to trouble Abbiati unduly.

  • 35'

    Antonino curls the ball from the left flank looking for Ibrahimovic. Had he got it right, the Swede would have been through, but he didn't.

  • 34'

    Nocerino finds himself in an advanced position on the right, but his cutback fails to find a team-mate.

  • 33'

    Well, well, well. Milan now have the advantage on away goals despite having shown very little sign of creating anything till that point.

  • 32'

    Mascherano was guilty of playing him onside there.

  • 32'

    Incredible! Robinho produces a bit of quality, wriggling into space, and finds Ibrahimovic, who plays in Nocerino to slide past Valdes.

  • 32'

    GOAL FOR MILAN!

  • 32'

    Fabregas slips the ball through for Messi, but the defence get there first.

  • 31'

    If Silvio Berlusconi was unimpressed with the first leg, he won't be enjoying this one iota.

  • 30'

    Abate breaks down the Milan right but, as usual, the attack comes to nothing. The visitors are finding it increasingly difficult to threaten.

  • 30'

    Alves takes the free-kick, and it's a bit of a damp squib, deflecting out of play for a goal kick.

  • 29'

    Ambrosini grabs hold of Fabregas' shirt and hauls him over. A booking would rule him out of Milan's next European game, though it's not likely to be a Champions League semi-final on the present evidence.

  • 28'

    Milan cannot get a kick right now. Barca are just playing it around the Milan area.

  • 26'

    Alves races away down the right flank and, after making his way past Antonini and then Nesta, slides into Abbiati as the ball runs away from him.

  • 25'


    Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi celebrate the opening goal

  • 25'

    Messi gets another shot away, but his chipped effort is straight into Abbiati's hands.

  • 24'

    Abate finally manages to tackle Cuenca, but Milan givbe the ball back shortly afterwards.

  • 24'

    Barca knock the ball around effortlessly in the Milan half, but Busquets misplaces the final pass.

  • 22'

    Pique takes an odd approach to stopping Robinho, pretty much sitting down in front of him, but it puts the Brazilian off. End to end stuff at the moment, but Milan haven't shown much in the way of end product.

  • 22'

    Cuenca finds Fabregas just in front of goal, but he's quickly shut down, though he nearly manages to find Messi.

  • 21'

    Pique mops up the danger.

  • 20'

    Ambrosini fouls Fabregas, who's hobbling a little, but Milan break from the free-kick.

  • 20'

    Robinho takes the corner, but it's headed clear.

  • 19'

    Ibra receives the ball inside the D and looks to chip through for Robinho, but has to settle for a corner.

  • 18'

    Puyol, unguarded, arrives to meet the corner at the far post, but he's just unable to connect on the stretch.

  • 18'

    Iniesta buys a corner off Antonini.

  • 17'

    Robinho plays a central pass to Seedorf, who chips the ball over the defence, but Ibra's offside.

  • 16'

    Ibra gives the ball to Fabregas, and the ball eventually comes to Cuenca, whose cross is once more cleared.

  • 15'

    Cuenca centres from the left, but it's cleared without trouble by Mexes.

  • 14'

    Messi is tackled by Nesta on the edge of the area. Barca in control.

  • 13'

    Boateng makes headway into the left-hand side of the area but is unable to cut the ball back. Goal kick.

  • 12'

    An equaliser would be enough to put Milan through as it stands, but whether the Rossoneri can prevent Barca scoring again is a little doubtful.

  • 11'

    Messi makes no mistake from the spot, and he has his second goal against Italian opposition, even if he's still awaiting his first from open play.

  • 11'

    GOAL FOR BARCELONA!

  • 10'

    Messi races into the area in acres of space, finds Xavi, who seemed a bit confused, the ball comes back to Messi and Antonini makes a silly slide tackle on the Argentine.

  • 10'

    PENALTY FOR BARCELONA!

  • 9'

    Robinho finds himself in possession in the area after a ricochet, but there's not much on for him and eventually Milan settle for a throw-in.

  • 8'

    Alves sends a tempting ball across the face of goal, but no one makes a connection.

  • 8'

    Cuenca produces a couple of stepovers to get beyond Abate on the left flank but his cross is blocked.

  • 7'

    Alves crosses into the area, Cesc cushions the ball into Messi's path, but the Argentine fires across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. Great chance.

  • 5'

    ...and Barca counter at pace, with Messi getting a shot off from the edge of the area. Easy save.

  • 5'

    Seedorf floats the ball across to Nocerino on the right of the area, and his drilled cross could easily have resulted in a goal.

  • 4'

    Ibrahimovic gets a little bit of space and charges forward but, as he prepares to shoot, the ball comes off his right boot and out of play as Pique makes a challenge. Disappointing.

  • 3'

    Iniesta plays a one-two with Messi in the area, but the return pass is too high and he bundles it out of play.

  • 2'

    Seedorf wins a free-kick. He looked a lot calmer on the ball there than some of his team-mates, which you might expect.

  • 2'

    Messi nearly breaks through after some sloppy Milan play, but Nesta makes the challenge.

  • 1'

    Iniesta tries an early chip over the defence, but it's mopped up without trouble.

  • 1'

    BARCELONA GET THE GAME UNDERWAY!

  •  

    Puyol and Ambrosini shake hands in the centre circle and the kick is upon us...

  •  

    Interestingly, the odds for Milan to progress here are 11/1, while Marseille are only 8/1 despite losing 2-0 at home to Bayern. Barca are very much the favourites.

  •  

    The players are in the tunnel and the fans are whipping up an atmosphere.

  •  

    Former Milan boss Arrigo Sacchi rates Barca as "slight favourites" but adds: "Milan have many experienced players and are coming off a positive spell. They can do damage to the Catalans, especially if Barcelona are not aggressive and the defence shows the same problems it has had over the campaign."

  •  

    The Camp Nou pitch is a little damp, too, after some rain today, so the ball should zip around. Barca remain strong favourites to progress.

  •  

    Barca, you'll remember, were pretty unimpressed with the state of the San Siro pitch, and Milan might find it a bit tougher when the opposition are able to knock the ball around a bit quicker.

  •  

    Graeme Souness on Sky Sports: "Some of the Italian players were celebrating after the first leg, thinking they'd done a really professional job, but it's a different ball game tonight."

  •  

    Secondly, Lionel Messi has never scored against an Italian side in open play. (That said, his one goal against an Italian side was a penalty against Milan.)

  •  

    Every time Milan have drawn 0-0 at the San Siro in the first leg of a Champions League or European Cup tie, they've gone through.

  •  

    A couple of stats as we gear up for the kick-off, and stats that will give a bit of encouragement to Milan fans.

  •  


    Zlatan Ibrahimovic warms up on his return to the Camp Nou

  •  

    Alexandre Pato is available for Milan for the first time since 25 February after undergoing specialist treatment in America.

  •  

    The Barca attack will feature Isaac Cuenca and Andres Iniesta alongside Leo Messi, while Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets join Xavi in midfield.

  •  

    For Barca, the big news is that Xavi has passed a late fitness test.

  •  

    Ibrahimovic, of course, is returning to the Camp Nou with a point to prove, and he'll be looking for a little help from his friends Robinho and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

  •  

    Pep Guardiola has said he expects Milan to score an away goal tonight, and he's expressed concern about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's height.

  •  

    Live commentary will appear here from 1945 GMT.