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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MOTD preview- Barcelona vs AC Milan

AC Milan head to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona in the second leg of the Round of 16 Champions League tie leading 2-0 on aggregate.  Barcelona dominated possession in the first leg, but Milan defended well and scored two goals in the second half to give them a win.  Barca will need a 3-0 win to advance to the Quarterfinals, and a 2-0 win would mean the game will go into extra time.  Milan will try to defended their 2-0 advantage, but if Barca get an early goal it is easy to see them go on and win the match 3-0.  Milan will need to play the match exactly like they played in the first leg, and try to contain Barca star Lionel Messi.  Messi has already scored five Champions League goals this season, and will look to ad to that tally.  Whether Messi scores or not, the match is sure to be exciting, so look out for my full time review, right here on Football Every Day!

El Shaarawy extends contract

AC Milan star Stephan El Shaarawy has extended his contract with the Italian club. The twenty-year-old forward has been on amazing form, scoring nineteen goals in thirty-three matches for the club, and has put pen to paper and signed a new deal that will keep him with the Rossoneri until June 2018. He is reportedly going to have an annual salary of €800,000, about €50,000 more than before.

“Happy for the renewal… Extended my contract until 2018! So proud to wear this shirt,” the Italian posted on his Twitter account earlier today.

MOTD- AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona

Its an upset here at the San Siro, with AC Milan beating Barcelona 2-0 in the Champions League Round of 16.  Barcelona started the match on top circulating the ball in their own half, but they could not create any good chances, and the first one went to Milan in the fifth minute.  But Sulley Muntari’s volley from thirty yards out flew over the bar.  Barcelona kept possession of the ball, but they could still not break through the Milan defense and the tempo of the match slowed down.  Despite Barca’s dominance, Milan almost went up in the sixteenth minute when Stephan El Shaarawy played the ball on the ground to a Kevin Prince Boateng by the near post off a corner, but his first time shot went inches wide of the far post.  Barca still kept the majority of possession, and finally did get their first chance in the twentieth minute and Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati was forced to save Xavi’s shot from thirty yards out.  Barca still kept the ball, and almost scored when Milan defender Massimo Ambrosini blocked a cross, and his touch went inches wide of his own net, but the first half ended 0-0.

The second half started more energetically, with Barca creating some chances, but amazingly Milan opened the scoring in the fifty-sixth minute off a free kick.  The kick was played short to Ambrosini, who tried to hit a long range shot, but his shot was blocked by the Barca defenders, and it fell to Boateng, who hit a superb volley into the bottom right corner of the net.  For twenty minutes it looked like Barca would equalize, with an Andres Iniesta shot going just wide, and a Xavi free kick just flying over the bar, but amazingly Milan doubled their lead in the eighty-second minute.  The ball fell to Milan substitute M’baye Niang inside the Barca box, and he played the ball to El Shaarawy who did a lovely little dink over Dani Alves to Muntari, who hit a powerful volley past an oncoming Victor Valdes, and into the back of the net.  Barca started to panic, and even sent centre-back Gerard Pique into the centre-forward position, but could not get the crucial away goal, and the match ended 2-0, with Barca having a lot to do in the second leg.
Man of the Match: Stephan El Shaarawy

MOTD halftime- AC Milan 0-0 Barcelona

This Champions League Round of 16 match between AC Milan and Barcelona has so far been a cagey affair, with Barcelona dominating possession.  The match started with Barca circulating the ball at the back and Milan getting very little of the ball, but Barca could not do much with the possession they had.  Despite Barca dominating the ball, the first chance went to Milan in the fifth minute, but Sulley Muntari’s volley from thirty yards out flew over the crossbar.  Barca kept on keeping possession in their own half, but they still couldn’t create any chances, and the next chance again went to Milan, off a corner in the sixteenth minute.  Stephan El Shaarawy played the corner on the ground to a Kevin-Prince Boateng, who was unmarked on the front of the near post, but his shot curled inches wide of the far post.  Barca finally did generate a chance in the twentieth minute, but not a great one, when Xavi got the ball thirty yards out from the Milan goal and his shot was a good one, but Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati made the save to his left.  The biggest chance of the half came in the thirtieth minute though, when a Dani Alves cross was almost tipped in by Milan defender Massimo Ambrosini, but thankfully for him it went just wide.  Barca kept possession for the rest of the half, and the first half ended 0-0, but Milan should be pleased with their performance so far.

MOTD preview- AC Milan vs Barcelona

This UEFA Champions League match between AC Milan and Barcelona, with Barcelona looking to advance in the competition and regain the trophy that they won most recently in 2011.  The two clubs were in the same group in the 2011/2012 competition, and Barcelona finished top of that group, while Milan finished second.  The teams again met in the 2011/2012 tournament, in the Quarterfinals.  Barca again finished on top in that tie, winning 3-1 and drawing 0-0.  Barcelona look the better of the two, but their normally solid defense has been shaky in recent weeks, which will cause concern their supporters.  But Barca’s attack has been exceptional as usual, and Lionel Messi recently made headlines by scoring his 300th goal for the club in Barca’s 2-1 win over Granada in La Liga.  Milan also enter the match on good form, and recently climbed into third place in Serie A with a 2-1 win over Parma on Friday.  Milan’s strategy for the match will be to try and prevent Barca from getting an away goal, and contain Xavi and Andres Iniesta.  Barca’s strategy though, will be to get the away goal and win the match.  Whoever’s strategy works though, the match is sure to be exciting, so look out for my halftime and full time reviews, right here on Football Every Day!