UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Estadio Camp Nou, Spain

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0 - 0

FT

2nd leg: 1 - 0 (Agg)

Barca set up dream final

BARCELONA, April 26 (Primera Liga) - Barcelona booked a place in next month's Champions League final against Arsenal after drawing their semi-final second-leg 0-0 against AC Milan at the Nou Camp in a game that was nonetheless full of incident and passion.

Leading 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a first-leg goal from Ludovic Giuly, Barca coach Frank Rijkaard promised his side would not sit back and defend and he was true to his word as they pounded the Milan defence.

They lacked the finishing touch in front of goal with Samuel Eto'o and Juliano Belletti most guilty but were lucky to escape when Andriy Shevchenko had a goal controversially disallowed for Milan in the second half.

Milan found themselves chasing shadows for much of the first half but improved after the break with Shevchenko missing their best opening with a header in front of goal.

There were no late surprises from the Barca side before kick-off with Deco back from suspension and Giuly preferred in attack to Henrik Larsson.

For Milan, Filippo Inzaghi was fit to play in attack and Jaap Stam was given the nod ahead of Cafu to fill the right-back slot.

The game hit a high tempo from the start when Kaka flashed a shot past the post for Milan and then Eto'o went past an aged Alessandro Costacurta with ease inside the area but his drive was saved by the body of Dida.

Roared on by a full Nou Camp there was no chance of Barca reducing the pace of the game despite the advantage from the first leg and a watching Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will have plenty to think about.

The pace of Eto'o was once again the undoing of Milan as he burst into the area but the touch of the Cameroon international let him down and Dida was able to block the ball while Costacurta completed the clearance close to the line.

Every time that Barca attacked the Milan rearguard was stretched.

Deco and Ronaldinho were the catalysts for Barca's most dangerous moves looking for the finishing touch of Eto'o.

It was the Brazilian himself though who tested the Milan goal midway through the first half with a shot from distance which missed the angle of crossbar and post by inches.

The one Achilles heel for Barca at times this season has been their defence though and the warning signs were there for the home side when Shevchenko was left unmarked at the far post but his drive hit the side-netting.

Barca continued to press forward with Deco going close with a shot from the edge of the area before Eto'o was cynically brought down by Costacurta as he galloped goalwards in the run up to half-time.

With Milan only needing a goal to get back on level terms in the tie they refused to gamble by throwing players forward but instead waited for the gaps to appear.

Only five minutes after the re-start and one such opportunity presented itself to Shevchenko who should have done a lot better.

He made a good run into the box to meet a delicately-played pass from Clarence Seedorf but his diving header was straight at Victor Valdes.

The Italians could have been left with a mountain climb though when straight after Juliano Belletti mis-kicked in front of goal.

Barca cut through the Milan defence with Ronaldinho finding Giuly who squared for the full-back but with just the keeper to beat he failed to connect with the ball.

As the game wore on Milan were forced to press further forward and they brought on Cafu for Costacurta to give more support to the forward line.

Cafu headed over after Valdes palmed away unconvincingly following a Serginho cross.

Shevchenko then had a goal ruled out by German referee Markus Merk - apparently for a push on Carles Puyol - although there seemed to be no contact with the Barca defender appearing to trip.

Gaps inevitably appeared at the other end and substitute Larsson saw a spectacular diving header saved by Dida while Deco also found the keeper in the way with a 15-yard shot.

The final whistle was greeted by cheers from the home crowd who can now look forward to their meeting with Arsenal in Paris next month where the Catalans will aim to add their second European club title to their trophy cabinet.

Scoring Summary

  • Barcelona
  • AC Milan
 
 

Match Stats

  • Barcelona
  • AC Milan
15(5) Shots (on goal) 12(2)
20 Fouls 18
3 Corner kicks 2
0 Offsides 3
0% Time of Possession 0%
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
0 Saves 0

Teams

  • Barcelona
  • AC Milan
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Edmílson (90')