Live Commentary: AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona - as it happened

Live Commentary: AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona - as it happened
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Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the first leg of the last-16 Champions League clash at the San Siro as AC Milan record a 2-0 win over Barcelona.

AC Milan welcomed Barcelona to the San Siro on Wednesday in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League.

The Spanish outfit dominated proceedings in the first period, but stern defending from Milan restricted their ability to create clear chances.

It was Milan that took a shock lead in the second period, however, when Kevin-Prince Boateng found the bottom corner from close range.

The expected response from Barcelona just did not materialise, with Sulley Muntari adding Milan's second 10 minutes from time.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

6.46pmEvening all! One of the most fascinating clashes in this season’s Champions League takes place this evening with an in-form Milan side welcoming tournament favourites Barcelona to the San Siro. The two sides have been far from strangers in recent seasons, but it is the Spanish outfit that have certainly dominated the recent meetings. Right, the team news is already filtering through.


MILAN: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Zapata, Constant; Montolivo, Ambrosini, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaaraway

BARCELONA: Valdes; Alves, Puyol, Pique, Alba; Fabregas, Xavi, Busquets; Iniesta, Messi, Pedro

6.52pmSo there we have it. Pazzini and El Shaarawy start in attack for the home side, but former Barcelona striker Bojan is on the bench. Boateng also starts in midfield, with perhaps the major surprise seeing Muntari also given a the nod. Barcelona, meanwhile, are exactly as expected with no fewer than nine Spaniards in their starting team.

6.55pmAs mentioned, Milan failed to win in any of their four Champions League matches against Barcelona last season, drawing twice and losing twice. That said, their overall home record against Spanish opposition is quite impressive having won 11 of the 23 matches, drawing six and losing six. But they will need to be at their best to continue that run this evening.

6.58pmHowever, Barcelona’s recent run against Milan stretches back further than last season. The Catalan outfit are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Milan, winning four and drawing three. The last time Milan picked up three points over Barcelona was courtesy of a 1-0 win in the group stages of the competition in the 2004-05 season.

7.01pmQuite remarkably, Milan are the only team left in the competition to not have won at home this season. Their last home win in the Champions League was a year ago when they thumped Arsenal 4-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash. Who would have thought it? However, that will be forgotten if they pick up a positive result this evening.

7.04pmMilan have also scored just one goal in their last four games in the San Siro. Just when you thought I would say something positive, it gets slightly worse. In fact, Milan have won just one of their last 10 knockout games in the Champions League, with that win, as mentioned, coming at home to Arsenal last season.

7.07pmIt would be fair to state that every team in the Champions League wanted to avoid Barcelona in the last-16 draw. The Catalan outfit have lost just two of their last 24 games in the competition, with both those defeats coming in Britain – against Celtic and Chelsea. They have also won eight of their last 11 away matches in the competition.

7.10pmBarcelona are also certainly used to reaching this stage of the competition. Should they overcome Milan in two legs, then it will be the sixth consecutive season that they have reached the final eight. That is some consistency. The Spanish outfit also had the highest possession in the competition this season having averaged 75.8%.

7.13pmTalking of possession, three of the four players that completed the most passes in the opposition half in the group stages play for Barcelona. Perhaps not too surprisingly, those players were Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. The same Messi that has scored 56 goals in his 74 Champions League matches. Only Raul (71 goals in 142 games) has scored more.

7.16pmYou just get the feeling that Messi will have some say on the match this evening. The Argentine scored his 300th and 301st league goals for Barcelona against Granada at the weekend, while he has now scored 44 goals in total this season. I think the fact that some bookmakers are offering odds of 6/1 for a home win tells you something about this Barcelona team.

7.19pmHowever, in terms of the history of the competition, Milan certainly trump Barcelona. The Italian outfit have won the European trophy on seven separate occasions, while Barcelona have lifted it four times. Not too many people would back against Barcelona making it five should they make it to the final at Wembley in May.

7.22pmLet’s take a look at how both sides made it to this stage of the competition. Milan finished second in Group C behind Malaga, having won two, drawn two and lost two of their six group fixtures. They scored seven goals in the process and conceded six, which is a total that will not worry Barcelona ahead of this match.

7.25pmMilan opened with a 0-0 draw against Anderlecht before beating Zenit 3-2 on the road. They then suffered a 1-0 defeat against Malaga in Spain, before drawing the home leg 1-1. Their fifth match of the competition brought a 3-1 win over Anderlecht, but they ended the group in disappointment as they were beaten 1-0 by Zenit.

7.28pmBarcelona, meanwhile, topped a section that included Celtic, Benfica and Spartak Moscow. They won four of their six matches, drawing once and losing the other. They scored 11 goals in those six matches, while they conceded five times. The surprise defeat came against Celtic in Scotland, where they were beaten despite having around 80% of the possession.

7.31pmThey opened their campaign with a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow before beating Benfica in Portugal and Celtic at the Nou Camp. They then suffered the surprise defeat to Celtic before beating Spartak Moscow and drawing with Benfica on matchday five and six respectively. That said, it is never wise to read too far into group form.

7.34pmDespite Milan’s troubles, they enter this match on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run in Serie A. Meanwhile, they have won their last six matches at the San Siro in all competitions. That said, they currently occupy third position in the table, some seven points behind second-placed Napoli and 11 behind leaders Juventus.

7.37pmBarcelona, meanwhile, currently top La Liga with an incredible 65 points. They have won 21 of their 24 matches this season to sit 12 points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 16 ahead of current champions Real Madrid. Only a pure miracle will stop them from regaining the Spanish title this season.

7.40pmRight, we are just about five minutes from kickoff. It is time for my pre-match prediction. There is something about Milan at the moment that makes me believe that they can take a draw from this game. I am backing a 1-1 draw, but I think Barcelona will advance comfortably in the second leg. Only time will tell whether I am indeed correct.

7.43pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The wonderful Champions League music is echoing around this famous stadium. AC Milan versus Barcelona in the last-16. It does not get much bigger. Be sure to remain with us for the entirety. I have a feeling that we could be in for a classic.

0 minTonight's referee is Craig Thomson from Scotland. Let's hope that the 41-year-old rises to the occasion this evening inside this sensational arena. Just a reminder that Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura takes charge of the team this evening as Tito Vilanova continues to recover from illness. The away side get the action underway.

2 minI have not had time to mention a certain Mario Balotelli, who is ineligible to play for Milan this evening which is a major blow to their hopes in this match. As expected, Barcelona have taken control of the early possession with Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta all enjoying early touches of the ball. I suspect that will be a regular pattern this evening.

4 minJust about 75,000 supporters inside the stadium this evening. The group matches at the San Siro were not full, but tickets for this match were at a premium. Milan attempt to launch their first attack on goal as Abate collects possession before driving down the right, but Puyol is across to clear at the vital moment.

6 minA reminder that Barcelona have lost just one domestic match this season, but the Champions League is a different kettle of fish. The Spanish outfit attempt to craft outside the penalty area as Xavi looks for Messi, but Zapata is across to clear. Pazzini attempts to counter down the other end, but he just cannot find Boateng with a searching pass.

8 minHalf-chance for the home side as Muntari strikes a volley from outside the box, but it was always moving high of the target. That has certainly raised the temperature in the San Siro. It must be said that there is a stunning atmosphere in the early stages of this match. You just get the feeling that Milan need to take a lead into the second leg next month.

10 minAnother half-chance comes to the home side as Boateng pokes a ball towards El Shaarawy, but the linesman raises his flag at the final moment. The young Italian has certainly made a lively start to proceedings. The noise really is deafening as Milan continue to put the pressure on. Neither side have really settled with possession in the opening 10 minutes.

12 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Barcelona create an opening with a wonderful spell of passing. Eventually Alba fires a low cross into the box, but Mexes is across to clear. Messi is again involved moments later as he turns on the edge of the box before striking towards goal, but Mexes is on hand with the block once more.

14 minBarcelona continue to put the pressure on as Pique meets a corner from Xavi, but Abate just gets his body in the way. Milan come close with a counter attack as El Shaarawy combines with Muntari, but the final pass towards the Italian is just too strong and it moves out for a goal kick. This match is really starting to liven up as Mexes heads just wide of his own post from an Alves cross.

16 minDecent possession from the home side in the last couple of moments with Muntari and Montolivo both enjoying touches of the ball. However, we have not seen much from Pazzini in the opening 16 minutes. Barcelona eventually gather the ball before passing and probing outside the Milan box, but the Italian outfit continue to quell the danger with an impressive defensive line.

18 minCHANCE! Glorious chance for the home side to open the scoring as El Shaarawy beats the offside trap before driving into the penalty area, but his first touch is just too long, allowing Puyol across to clear at the vital moment. A chance comes from the resulting corner, but Boateng clicks jus wide of the post.

20 minReferee Craig Thomson is being put under some pressure at the moment as both teams continue to commit fouls in the middle of the park. Messi wants a yellow card for a challenge by Muntari, while the official is also criticised for not allowing Milan the advantage. It has been a positive start from the home side against quite possibly the best team that has ever played the game.

22 minAgain it's really smart football from the home side as Montolivo combines with Ambrosini before finding Constant on the right, the defender whips a high cross into the box, but Valdes is out to collect. Xavi has a half-chance down the other end as he strikes from distance, but Abbiati makes the save. End-to-end football as we approach the midpoint in the first period.

24 minI have to admit that Milan have been much better than I expected this evening. The likes of Montolivo and Ambrosini have enjoyed plenty of the ball in midfield, while El Shaarawy is such a threat in the final third with his pace and movement. Barcelona enjoy a spell with possession moments later, but once more their final pass fails to find the desired target. Milan in the driving defeat with 24 minutes on the clock.

26 minFabregas and Messi have both lost the ball in the last couple of moments. Shock horror! However, one thing is for certain, the Spanish outfit will remain nice and calm. It must be said that Montolivo has been sensational in this match thus far. However, neither side has really had a clear opening thus far. High-tempo football at the San Siro as Mexes is awarded the first yellow card for a foul on Messi.

28 minBarcelona remain patient as they pass and probe outside the Milan penalty area, eventually Iniesta darts into the box before attempting to find Messi, but Mexes is across to clear at the vital moment. Just a few signs that the Spanish outfit are starting to take control of proceedings as they dominate possession in the Milan half.

30 minAgain Messi is involved for the away side as he dances past two challenges before advancing to the edge of the box, but Mexes is across to make the clearance. How good has he been thus far?! Not too much to report in terms of attacking chances in the last couple of moments, however, with Barcelona taking their time with pass after pass.

32 minI could be wrong, but I honestly do not think that Pazzini has had a single involvement in this match. The Milan striker is working the lone role in attack, but he has simply not been found. Milan continue to impress on the counter with their pace and power, but once more the final pass towards Boateng is just too short. Little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

34 minAgain the home side threaten on the counter as Boateng picks up possession before sliding a pass towards El Shaarawy, but Pique is across at the vital moment to clear the danger. In truth, the tempo of the match has just dropped in the past few minutes with Barcelona attempting to find that gap in the Milan box. Thus far, it has not arrived.

36 minMilan's defence has been sensational in this first period thus far as Mexes and Zapata continue to make challenges at the vital moment. Milan are also not giving away too many free kicks, with their challenges hard but fair. Another counter comes down the other end for the home side, but Muntari is felled by Busquets.

38 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Boateng picks up possession in a wide area before firing a dangerous cross into the box, but it just would not fall for El Shaarawy, with Valdes on hand to claim. Once more Barcelona attack immediately down the other end, but the final pass continues to elude them. Wonderful Champions League contest in the San Siro.

40 minMuntari almost puts his side in trouble as he plays a short pass towards Mexes, but luckily for the midfielder the Frenchman is able to clear at the vital moment. Barcelona do eventually gain possession through Xavi, but a long passing sequence comes to nothing. Little over five minutes of the first period to play and the score remains 0-0 in the first leg.

42 minEl Shaarawy is again involved for the home side as the pacey striker attacks the Barcelona defence, but he has no support on either wing and Pique is across to clear. The end-to-end period in the match continues as Messi advances down the other end, but once more the Argentine just cannot keep hold of the ball. Meanwhile, he shows some dissent which is picked up by the supporters.

45 minSlightly sloppy end to this half with neither side taking too much care in possession of the ball. Yes, I include Barcelona in that statement. They have been slightly off-colour compared to their very high standards. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute at the end of the half.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: AC Milan 0-0 Barcelona

8.31pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. It has not been the most eventful half in terms of chances created, but it has been a fascinating tactical battle between two of Europe's most successful teams.

8.35pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the first period. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Barcelona have dominated possession with 74% of the ball, but they have managed just one shot on target. Milan have had two attempts, but neither tested Valdes in the Barcelona goal. That has certainly not taken away from the excitement, however.

8.39pmLet's have a look at the two benches for this evening. Milan have a host of attacking options with the exciting M'Baye Niang and former Barcelona striker Bojan. Barcelona's bench, meanwhile, would make some seven-a-side team with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Cristian Tello and Thiago all available if the Spanish side wish to make changes.

8.42pmThere is of course another Champions League tie taking place this evening with Galatasaray welcoming Schalke to Turkey. The home side took the lead after 12 minutes courtesy of a strike from Burak Yilmaz, but Jermaine Jones equalled on the stroke of the interval. Both European fixtures this evening are delicately poised ahead of the second period.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either side at the interval which is not too surprising at this stage of events. A reminder that nothing will be decided this evening with the second leg at the Camp Nou to come next week. Milan get the half underway inside this wonderful arena.

48 minYou have to wonder whether a 0-0 draw would be a good result for either team this evening? Perhaps it would favour Barcelona, but one goal for Milan in the Nou Camp would mean that the Spanish side would need to score twice. Boateng fires a low cross into the box in the early stages of the half, but it moves out of play for a goal kick. The stunning atmosphere inside the stadium remains.

50 minSlightly low-key start to this half with both sides exchanging periods of possession. Barcelona really have been off-key this evening in terms of their passing tempo. Credit must be given to Milan for that, with the Italian side working ever so hard in all areas of the pitch. However, Barcelona are capable of turning it on at any moment.

52 minThere is a really strange atmosphere at the moment. It is almost as if someone has just paused the crowd, with almost silence around the stadium. Barcelona again attempt to attack in a wide position as Alves drives into the box, but Mexes is across to clear. It must be said that this is the quietest I have seen Messi all season. Which probably means he will score four in the second period.

54 minThe problem for Milan is that they simply cannot keep hold of the possession at the moment with Barcelona embarking on attack after attack. You get the feeling that they will find a gap before the evening is over and 1-0 Barcelona is certainly not a good result for Milan. They just need to show slightly more going forward.

56 minBarcelona are just starting to pick up a host of free kicks in and around the Milan penalty area, but they decide against firing the ball into the box, playing it short on each occasion. However, Milan continue to break up the play with the likes of Ambrosini and Boateng doing their defensive work.

57 minBusquets is the first Barcelona player to have his name taken for a challenge on Muntari. Milan do indeed decide to fire the cross into the box, but Pique is across to clear. A long throw from Abate causes problems moments later, but Pazzini is penalised for handball. Little over 30 minutes of this match remaining and the score stays goalless.

57 minGOAL! AC Milan 1-0 Barcelona (Boateng)

58 minMilan lead in the San Siro! Wow. There's a stroke of luck about the strike as the ball drops to Boateng just outside the penalty area. The midfielder takes one touch before firing his effort into the bottom corner. Barcelona wanted a handball in the build-up, but the referee was not interested.

60 minIt is certainly what the game needed. Now we will find out about this Barcelona team. Just how good are they? Milan have really come to life as we enter the final 30 minutes of this match. It must be said that Boateng has been sensational this evening. His former club Portsmouth are heading for League Two. He is playing Barcelona.

62 minIt is all Milan at the moment as they continue to fire low crosses into the penalty area, prompting Barcelona to prepare their first change of the match. The pressure continues as Boateng drives a low cross into the box, but the referee blows his whistle to bring some respite to the Spanish club. They are under serious pressure here.

64 minBarcelona do indeed make their first change of the match as Fabregas is replaced by Alexis Sanchez. It has not quite been the former Arsenal midfielder's night this evening. The Spanish outfit come close with a free kick from outside the box, but his evening is pretty much summed up as he fires high and wide of the crossbar. Wow.

66 minSloppy play from the home side almost allows Barcelona the chance to score as Abbiati takes an extra touch on the ball, but the Italian goalkeeper is just able to clear at the vital moment. The home supporters are creating a deafening noise in this stadium as the second period continues to gather pace. What a contest we have on our hands.

68 minMilan continue to quell the threat and launch a counter of their own through Pazzini, however, the Italian is felled by Puyol outside the penalty area. It did look a nasty clash of heads between the two players, with the Milan striker certainly coming off the worse. However, he is able to rise to his feet after a brief spell of treatment.

70 minI am not entirely sure what this Milan team had for lunch this afternoon, but I certainly want some. They have run their socks off in this 70 minutes. However, with 20 minutes remaining, they must remain focused. All it takes is one moment of brilliance and Barcelona are back in this match. Pazzini has a strike from distance moments later, but his effort is straight at Pazzini.

72 minPlayers are getting patched up all over the place as Puyol continues to receive treatment for a head injury, while Abate joins the wounded list. It says something about Puyol that he walked off the pitch despite taking a serious blow to the head. Of course, he has since returned to the action. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining in this contest.

74 minMilan continue to put the pressure on Barcelona in the midfield area, with the Spanish outfit simply unable to crack the code. I have seen every Barcelona match this season and I have never seen them utterly quelled as they have been this evening. However, there are still more than 15 minutes of action remaining.

76 minIt's better from Barcelona as Xavi combines with Messi outside the box before attempting to find Alves, but Montolivo is across to clear once more. Milan attempt to counter with the pace of El Shaarawy, but it just breaks down at the vital moment. Stunning entertainment as the end-to-end period of the match continues.

78 minMilan make their second change of the evening as Pazzini is replaced my Niang. Watch out for this boy, he is some player. Big, powerful, quick. Let's see if he can influence this match in the final stages. You just get the feeling that there will be some late drama in the San Siro. Can Barcelona score? They always score.

80 minCHANCE! Barcelona come within a whisker of scoring the equaliser as Iniesta strikes an effort from distance, but it just moves past the post. In fairness, it did appear that Abbiati indeed had it covered. Milan attempt to attack down the other end with Boateng once more, with the midfielder winning a corner.

81 minHalf-chance for Barcelona to test Abbiati as Messi is felled outside the penalty area. The resulting free kick is taken by Xavi, but the Spaniard can only fire his effort over the crossbar. That has just about summed up Barcelona's evening. A reminder that both sides still have two changes remaining should they so wish.

81 minGOAL! AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona (Muntari)

82 minGood grief! Wow! Milan move into a 2-0 lead as Muntari collects a pass from El Shaarawy before thumping a volley into the back of the net. What a time to score your first goal of the campaign. Stunning football. Major, major upset here.

84 minThis stadium is absolutely jumping at the moment as Barcelona attempt to find a way back into this match. An away goal at this stage would still place the Spanish side as favourites, but as it stands, Milan would be big favourites to make the last eight. Huge six minutes remaining here.

86 minMessi attempts to go alone as the Argentine drives past two challenges, but once more he is faced with a number of Milan defenders and simply cannot keep hold of the ball. It really is end-to-end football at the moment as both sides commit numbers to each attack. Is there time for one more goal? Course there is!

88 minBarcelona threaten to score an away goal with a corner into the penalty area, Puyol is on hand to meet the cross, but the Spaniard can only head wide of the target. What an opportunity to score the decisive away goal. Meanwhile, Milan make another change as Bakaye Traore replaces El Shaarawy.

90 minBarcelona make their second change of the match as Puyol is replaced by Javier Mascherano. What an incredible evening this is turning out to be for the Italian side, who have not won at home in the Champions League in this campaign. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional five minutes of added time.

90 min+2Barcelona continue to pass and probe outside the Milan penalty area, but they just cannot find a way through this incredible defensive unit. A high cross comes into the box from Alves, but once more Mexes is on hand to fire it long, but Traore is booked for a challenge on Mascherano.

90 min+5Sensational defending from Mexes as the French defender rises in the penalty area before clearing under pressure from Messi. Just fantastic from the Frenchman. Barcelona continue to enjoy possession, but it appears that they will have to produce something special in the second leg to make it through. Little over one minute of football remaining.

90 min+5FULL-TIME: AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona

9.36pmOh my word. Incredible evening for the home side as Milan record a 2-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League. A famous night for Italian football. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and join us for Europa League football tomorrow. Until then!

San Siro
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