Resilient Milan should be praised for impeccable defensive display; Quarter-final tie wide open after San Siro deadlock
For a game surrounded by so much glitz and glamour, AC Milan and Barcelona played out a 0-0 draw in the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final.
Players such Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were all on show, however for all of the attacking talent available, neither team could muster a goal.
Milan have to be praised for keeping a side as good as Barca out, with centre-back Alessandro Nesta at the heart of everything good defensively for the home side. Throughout the game, the commitment from AC was impressive, throwing themselves in front of everything, in order to keep a vital clean sheet and not giving Pep Guadiola’s side a crucial away goal. The football at times wasn’t pretty, but it was most certainly effective, particularly from an Italian point of view.
Barcelona came into the game having won every Champions League game they had played in this season, except for a clash with their counterparts in the group stages back in September. That ended in a 2-2 draw in the Nou Camp back in the autumn with goals aplenty, however it was quite different at the San Siro just six months later.
Barcelona will still be favourites to go through in the tie, however Massimiliano Allegri and his men will fancy their chances of progressing, with a score draw in Spain good enough to see them advance.
However, much like the first leg, the Italian outfit might need a bit of luck to get there. Barca, pretty at times with their intricate passing, were not at their best, and despite some slick, fast-flowing football, it wasn’t good enough on the night. Andres Iniesta wasn’t his usual flamboyant self, whilst Messi couldn’t create a clear chance until late on.
Having said that, Chilean Alexis Sanchez should have won them a penalty in the first period when he was brought down by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. The spot-kick wasn’t given, and Barcelona, as the game grew older, became more frustrated.
Substitute Cristian Tello should have won it for the Spaniards late on, but the Catalans were to be denied by more desperate defending. Lisbon or London is the destination for the winners of this Champions League quarter-final clash, and at the moment, it could be either of them taking their place in the last four.