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Wednesday March 13 2013
Milan spun by Barca cyclone

Barcelona were at their brilliant best in dismantling Milan to overturn their Champions League first leg deficit. Luca Cetta writes.

Lionel Messi had confidence in Barcelona. “We know it is complicated by the result of the first leg, but we can turn it around. As they won, so can we. We are confident that we can overcome this.” Meanwhile, Milan were aware they had to frustrate their opponents for as long as possible to reach the quarter-finals. That went out the window after just five minutes. The Argentine wizard gave Christian Abbiati no chance with a sublime finish, halving the 2-0 San Siro deficit. By half-time Milan’s lead was wiped out thanks to that man again.

In between was a game played seemingly in fast-forward. The Rossoneri were pinned on the ropes, unable to land a blow while repeatedly taking heavy hits. Barcelona were relentless and pounded away. When Milan looked to land a punch Barca would unleash a quick jab to respond – on most occasions. Stephan El Shaarawy and glaringly, M’Baye Niang, had chances to snatch Milan a precious away goal. The 18-year-old hit the post when through on goal and 120 seconds later Messi was celebrating his second.

David Villa was quiet but netted the important third early in the second half. Important yes, but not quite a tie-winner. The Blaugrana had the aggregate advantage, but an away goal would change it all. The tie was not settled until the final minute when an awful Milan free-kick gave Messi the chance to launch a counter-attack. Jordi Alba slotted past Abbiati to send Milan crashing out.

Massimo Ambrosini claimed Milan were not up to task in the Camp Nou. “It’s the end of a dream,” said a crestfallen captain. “We were not up to it tonight. We suffered from the start and it wasn’t the performance we needed.”

When the draw was announced in December, Massimiliano Allegri’s side were all but written off. They had no chance in hell it was said. The reality was far different. Milan’s tactically astute first leg gave them a real shot at qualification. At times in the return the Rossoneri threatened to silence most of the 90,000 plus in attendance, Niang’s opportunity the most obvious. Even when three down Milan had fleeting moments to shock. It looked as if Barca may crack. But going forward they were simply devastating. Messi’s finishes were brilliant, Alba’s strike a fine conclusion for the Spanish side.

It was a gallant Milan throughout the 180 minutes, even if in the latter 90 they were outplayed. “This defeat is disappointing for the club, the fans and the lads, as they gave their all and hoped to achieve something remarkable,” said Allegri. “Tonight it was tough against this Barcelona, yet we kept it open to the end and when 3-0 down had some chances that could’ve gone better.”

He did have one regret. “It’s a shame we tended to give Barcelona opportunities by failing to clear the ball properly.” Too often Milan were guilty of coughing up possession cheaply. It led to an abundance of pressure on the defence, and the second goal. In part this can be attributed to the host's pressing, but also Milan’s inexperienced squad were overawed by the occasion.

Could the Coach have done things differently? It’s easy to make judgments after the fact. He chose Kevin Constant over Mattia De Sciglio, Mathieu Flamini over Sulley Muntari, and was hampered by Giampaolo Pazzini’s absence, so went for youngster Niang in attack. Certainly they sat much deeper in this match and forgot what gave them the advantage in the first place.

“In order to play these games, you need legs and I made these choices. If Niang had scored, my choice would’ve been praised,” rebutted Allegri.

Just like their elimination at the same venue last season, Milan will look back with a tinge of regret. But they were up against a monster and that this Rossoneri outfit, which has been through so much this season, gave Barcelona such a fright must not be forgotten.

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Have your say...
Garry – really ? it’s not a well kept secret Serie A is not at previous levels, but I would be a little more cautious about profiling a league based on this result

JuveFanatico – yes, this Milan could have knocked Barca out but instead it went the other way around and...I rest my case :)

- in the second leg it was/as always/the same Barca but not the same Milan

- on a brighter note, I had a chance to see Nesta live for the first time in my life last Saturday !

Forza Milan :)
on the 15th March, 2013 at 4:24pm
Just finished reading the whole post and trying to squeeze it all into 500 but I don't have what it takes :(

Ayoub – thanks and–as a fan of a rival team-I wish Barca the same :)

Daniel Giambrone – always a pleasure to read your on-the-spot comments; proactive vs. reactive, best
put!

Mike in TO – agree on the best team ever, but I also would add, firing on all cylinders...scary...I’d crap my pants too :)

Juve4Ever – same as for Ayoub...as a fan of a rival team...go Juve !
on the 15th March, 2013 at 4:16pm
@Tino Baggio

"sit back" Juve? LOL Juve beat the crap outta Celtic home and away. If juve were "sit back" then milan were "sleep back". Stop hating juve, give the credits to them.

But I still hope you'll get to the champ league next time or EL maybe.

Last 5 games of you so called "sit back" juve did to their opponents;

Juve 4-0 Nordsjælland
Juve 3-0 Chelsea
Shaktar 0-1 Juve
Celtic 0-3 Juve
Juve 2-0 Celtic

Only on 2nd years of Conte's squad ! No big names like RM PSG or Man City
on the 14th March, 2013 at 10:58pm
@Daniel Giambrone

When I said who's the boss was between Celtic and Juve as you clearly stated that Celtic bossing Juve around. (don't know why you took it personally, pls don't be childish!)

As if 5-0 don't mean a thing to you, the only Italian beat Celtic on their home was ACM and that was 1969.

How about 3-0 against defending champ Chelsea?

2 years back juve were finished 7th ! looked at Conte's squad now. Give some respect to juve, lucky you're not juve's fans!
on the 14th March, 2013 at 10:45pm
This Barca set a standard that right now seems unreachable, so no suprises if everyone is afraid of them.
Albeit this is a young Milan, I still expected a little more from them, something like when 3-0 down.
That being said, heads up Rossoneri, use this precious experience in a constructive way and learn from it. As they say "if it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger" rigth ? :)

Hats down Barca ... but forza Milan !
on the 14th March, 2013 at 5:16pm
@ julien, so who should be the manager?
on the 14th March, 2013 at 2:19pm
I don't want to take anything away from Barca, they have the best team in the world. However let's not think for a second that this Milan team couldn't have knocked Barca out in the second leg. If Milan only had shown up for the second leg and at least put up a fight!

If Barca gets Real or Bayern in the next round and plays the same way they did against Milan i guarantee you they won't reach the semis.
on the 14th March, 2013 at 1:26pm
All Milan had to do was stop Barca from channeling through the center and clear the ball away. How many times I've seen Constant, Zapata & Ambrosini give the ball away in their own half just in front of goal, ridiculous.

As for the free kick before end of time, LoL everybody poured forward & Robinho took it short, what was he thinking ???

Bojan had little to no impact on the game at the end & Nocerino should have started instead of Flamini.
on the 14th March, 2013 at 12:29pm
Juve4ever, even though I don't support Juve, (I do not support any side), I desperately want Juve to do well, for the good of Italian football. Do not take my criticisms to heart. But if you enjoyed Juve's performance,(not to be confused with the result), then you are easily pleased, good for you! As for who's the boss, it certainly isn't you, (or me), don't be so childish!
on the 14th March, 2013 at 11:59am
Juve4ever, those stats mean nothing to me, I know what I saw. Celtic didn't play k & R football, most of their play was to feet. As for the possession, Celtic's was mostly spent in the Juve half of the pitch. I maintain my point, & that is, if Juve concede the initiative against any of the quarter finalists,(like they did against Celtic-a team that was assembled for peanuts), they will get punished because these teams will convert their chances.
on the 14th March, 2013 at 11:38am
could someone enlighten me. As i said below...Barcelona were a different class...but they were as vulnerable as anyone else when SES was clean on to score twice but scuffed, Niang hit the post, Robinhio was closed down in the box from bojans cross in.

Milan really let them self down and allowed Barcelona to tear them apart. Sad because i thought Milan would have gone guns blazing and was the same with 'sit-back' Juve. I believe Juve won with celtic purely on the mistakes celtic mad
on the 14th March, 2013 at 10:35am
There is no doubt about it...Barcelona/Messi were amazing and amazing to watch

HOWEVER, I simply do not understand how Milan could not pass the ball from 1 player to another instead of giving it away to Barcelona. I understand Barcelona closed down but i am talking about times when Milan were not under pressure and had time.

I do not understand why Milan decided to play in the last 15 mins of the game pushing Barca back and almost looked like scoring. Bojan was explosive when he came on
on the 14th March, 2013 at 10:26am
This barca team is more than beatable, we had them on the verge of elimination and shitting their pants with a Milan squad which is in its first year of assembly post Seedorf, Nesta etc.. era I'll go as far as to say we were kinda unlucky considering the absences of De Jong, Balloteli and Pazzini, against a full strength barca home and away, the offside goal scored by Messi, Allegri going from hero to zero with his tactical setup and of course the Niang miss! amongst many others.
on the 14th March, 2013 at 12:44am
Ambrosini was horrid- he didnt complete a single pass 3 goals started from a mistake by him and finished off with a mistake by constant. What kind of a team leaves robinho muntari on the bench and field a flamini who cant pass shout or tackle and niang who is 18 years old lone striker. Its shocking. We sold a whole team in the summer and kept ambrosini and flamini.... why??? They are useless. Im shocked we were made to look so ridiculous! For italian football I hope juve win!
on the 13th March, 2013 at 11:17pm
The game reminded of the euro final 2012. Bad day for the Italians, proved that Barca really did have an off day on the first leg!

Bring it home Juve.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 10:47pm
Milan exposed for what they are - a collection of cut-price journeymen with a few genuine talents dotted about. It says a lot about the state of Serie A these days (with the possible exception of Juventus) that such a terrible result is being met with indifference.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 10:19pm
@Julian

Hahaha you made me laugh, doesn't matter if milan started to attack in the first 10mins, Barca would still scored the goals.

Milan was in defensive mode and Barca could still penetrate it. If milan follow what you've said, then the last goal gonna keep coming to punish milan.

Milan lost on quality they just lucky at the first leg, coz barca played bad.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 9:15pm
@Daniel Giambrone

Celtic bossing around Juve? R u even serious ? They way Scottish play similiar to English they do Rush football, while Juve play the way Italy play.

5-0 Aggregate is that what you called bossing the game? LOL, 1st leg Celtic 49% poss - Juve 51% poss, 2nd leg Celtic 57% poss, Juve 43% poss (some are 2nd team) and manage to won the game 2-0.

Now who's the boss?
on the 13th March, 2013 at 8:56pm
this is not the first time that milan lose like this game, look 2004 Milan Dopottivo 4 1 firsta leg then milan lost 4 0 and was elimenated, 2005 Milan Liverpool 3 0 first half then 3 3 Milan lost at the end, 2012 Milan beaten Arsenal 4 0 then they went to imaretes they lost 3 0. Milan is great team how can hapen these defeats.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 8:54pm
am from zambia and a fan of italian football. Someone says barcelona is the best team on the planet, i say milan is the team on the planet. They just need to drop abiati and fire allegri for that embaressment. Why has milan hung on to abiati for so long. All the goals scored by barce were his fault.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 8:53pm
@gurj why I criticize the manager, because I think that allegri didn't have the guts to take risk in a bigmatch. Yes indeed he's a good manager, but he lacks of courage/guts to go all out on big/important match. I was expecting a different approach from him, especially because they face Barca and because they have 2-0 leads. I'm 100% sure that if Milan play openly they'll still lose to Barca but not with this 4-0, they'll at least scored 1.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 8:09pm
Hard luck to Milan. They did good in the first leg. but wasnt up to the challenge in the second, obviously.

Only few Italian teams can get past the Camp nou massacre and knocks out Barca in the CL even with only 10 players. Obviously neither Milan nor Juve nor both combined can. lol

Good luck next time!
on the 13th March, 2013 at 8:07pm
@Mike in TO

Listen son, best team ever? Lets compare Basten, gullit, rijakrd, papin, Maldini, Baresi, to barca.. Best team ever? Not even close.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 7:38pm
i don't afree with you mike one thing you do get is chances against Barcelona. Madrid have proved that they haven't kept a clean sheet in summin like their last 16 games other than last night Milan started bad i personally would of started 451 for at least the first 20 minutes to avoid what did happen a early goal,Barcelona was always going to start fast its imperative not to concede early like they did as for the second goal mexes showing messi inside onto hes left foot says it all for me.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 7:24pm
none of you have bothered to read any of viktors posts have you according to our dear vik ses and niang are the next pele and messi i mean didnt you notice this last night.milan was awful set up was wrong and they did the two things you dont do give a goal away with in ten minutes and miss the one chance they had juventus probably wont beat barca only madrid can i think but im glad milan are out so i dont have read any more tripe about how good and young they are from viktor.
where are you vik
on the 13th March, 2013 at 7:18pm
Ok, come on, this is ridiculous. Milan didnt go out to Schalke or Gala or Porto they went out to BARCA. And a Barca playing at full trottle, the unstoppable Barca that humiliated Man Utd twice in finals and possess a player in Messi who is playing at a level we have never seen and probably never will see again. Give milan and Allegri a break. Yes they were shell shocked from the start but they are a young team, Naing is only 18. Barca dont play football as we understand it, another level!
on the 13th March, 2013 at 6:58pm
"No team can stop Barcelona"

Sorry but I beg to differ, it was Milan's woefulness that made the Catalans look impressive...

Still no Rosario O'Donald ? I bet BOSS is having a blast...
on the 13th March, 2013 at 6:25pm
you people make me laugh. allegri should've done this, SES should've done that. if balotelli was there, ambrosini sucks, milan were terrible. how about barcelona were simply explosive and that we shouldn't be too hard on milan because they were up against the best team on the planet and arguably the best team ever assembled. barcelona wanted this match and as far as i'm concerned no team would've been able to stop them last night. that's it. leave it at that.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 4:55pm
I hope this has woken the milan camp, last night would of been better with better defenders which they need to buy in the summer and if that stupid rule didn't exist Balotelli was playing and as well as Pazzini. I hope Juve win it and Lazio do as well
on the 13th March, 2013 at 4:48pm
Forza Milan!! It was great to dream with a team so young. It's rare for a child not to get frightened when he hears the hyna's cry for the first time. This Milan team gonna go forward and upward!! The only salvation that Barca had was the Pazzini injury. Period.
on the 13th March, 2013 at 4:48pm

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