MOTD- Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan

Barcelona have impressively overcome a 2-0 first leg defeat to win 4-2 on aggregate, getting a deserved win over AC Milan at the Nou Camp in the Champions League Round of 16.  Barca started the match brilliantly and Milan could barely gain any possession in the opening few minutes.  Amazingly, Barca went up only five minutes into the match when Sergio Busquets played the ball to Lionel Messi right outside the Milan eighteen.  Messi played a neat little one-two with Xavi and took the ball into the Milan box.  He cut the ball across his body and hit a beautiful curling snapshot into the top left corner of Christian Abbiati’s net to give Barca a crucial early goal.  Just after referee Viktor Kassai failed to award Barca a penalty in the eleventh minute, Milan again were let off the hook when Andres Iniesta hit a powerful side-volley from just outside the box.  Abbiati dove to his right to push the ball over the bar, but it hit the inside of the top crossbar and bounced down to Messi, who could only head it into the side netting.

Barca kept pushing Milan into their own box, and the Italian side could barely keep the ball.  Again, Barca got a great chance but Abbiati flew to his left to push wide a swerving Xavi shot from twenty-five yards out.  Milan started to weather the storm a bit after the opening twenty minutes and looked more dangerous on the counter attack.  The Rossoneri had one golden chance in the first half, and when Javier Mascherano misjudged a long clearance in the thirty-eighth minute, Milan youngster M’baye Niang was set free in the Barca half.  Niang took the ball up to the Barca box, and hit a low shot past an oncoming Victor Valdes.  The ball looked like it would just creep in the back of the net, but it rebounded off the outside of the post and back into the Barca box.

Milan immediately paid for Niang’s miss, and just seconds later Barca went up through, of course, Lionel Messi, who had never previously scored against an Italian side in open play, but bagged his second on the night.  Iniesta dispossessed Massimo Ambrosini, and gave the ball to Messi just outside the Milan box.  Messi cut it to the inside, but outfoxed everybody with his near post shot that went through the legs of Philippe Mexes and into the back out the net.  After three minutes of added time the first half ended with the tie level at 2-2 on aggregate.

Milan started the second half knowing they needed to score to keep up their European hopes, and won a few corners early in the half.  Barca weren’t fazed though, and managed to grab a third goal in the fifty-fifth minute when Xavi played the ball to David Villa on the right side of the Milan box.  Villa took the ball a little bit farther into the center of the box, and hit a curling shot to the far post that had Abbiati beaten.  It sailed into the back of the net to make it 3-0 and 3-2 Barca on aggregate, but the tie could still completely change if Milan got a crucial away goal.

With the possibility of extra time gone, Milan really started to apply pressure and should have gone ahead in the eightieth minute when substitute and former Barca player Bojan Krkic ran past Gerard Pique down the left.  Krkic drilled a low cross into the box to Robinho and the Brazilian looked certain to score, but Jordi Alba to make a last-ditch tackle to deny him the goal.  Despite Milan piling loads of pressure, Barca put the tie to bed in stoppage time when Messi fed the ball to Alexis Sanchez in space down the left.  Sanchez curled a cross to Alba on the edge of the Milan box, and the Spaniard passed the ball past an oncoming Abbiati to make it 4-0.  With barely any time left on the clock, Milan still put pressure on Barca but could not create any chances and the match ended 4-0 with Barca advancing to the Quarterfinals.
Man of the Match: Lionel Messi


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