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UEFA Champions League
13 September 2011
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 89861
David Villa 50'
Alexandre Pato 1'
Thiago Silva 90'+
And would you believe it, this is why we love football right?!?! Amazing scenes at Camp Nou at the end of the match, as Milan score the latest of equalisers to grab a point in Group H, deserved or not - they ALL count! Stay on Goal.com for all the latest breaking reports, player ratings, post-match reactions and much much more! I'm Livio and I wish you all a very pleasant evening. Buonanotte!
90' + 2'
Yellow CardCarles Puyol
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
GOOOOOOOLACCIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC STUFF HERE AT CAMP NOU AS THIAGO SILVA EQUALISES FOR MILAN!!! A corner right at the death, conceded by Alves, whipped in by Seedorf and Silva jumps highest to power the ball into the back of the net!!
More Messi magic almost comes off, after acutely playing in Afellay through the left, but his side-footed attempt is not strong enough, and is sweeped up by Abbiati. Moments later, the Dutchman seems to have been felled in the box, but Martin Atkinson waves the appeal away.
OOOH!! Xavi works his way round the midfield in his usual, mesmerising style, finding Sergio Busquets, whos impressive searching ball rolls into the path of Messi on the edge of the box down the right, who proceeds to cut inside and take on Zambrotta, but his ex-team-mate importantly deflects his effort into the hands of Abbiati.
Milan have a rare attack at their opponents goal, but Emanuelson fails to get past his direct competitor, Carles Puyol, who waits to dispossess him. Erstwhile, Villa is off for Afellay, who will want to create an impact in his short stint.
Allegri is spurring his team on more than ever, bellowing instructions out, even while Massimo Ambrosini is on the floor in some pain, but he is fine and the game continues. Barcelona have certainly sent out a warning shot tonight, even if the scoreline doesn't reflect their dominance!
Mark van Bommel
Messi, to Fabregas, to Alves! A silky passing move sees the Brazilian with a free shot at goal on the right, but his low attempt was saved by Abbiati without any issues.
Nesta again puts in a vital block to deny Messi with an explosive shot at goal. The ex-Italy defender had a nightmare display against Lazio at the weekend, but tonight looks to be in the losing team, through no fault of his own.
Yellow CardDaniel Alves
The battle has begun to die down now, with Barca seemingly content with their 2-1 lead. However, Alves gets an unnecessary booking for cynically fouling Emanuelson on the wing.
And without further adieu, Puyol replaces Keita, as Mascherano looks to be given the nod to replace the recently-departed Malian in defensive midfield. Xavi also has a curling effort from a free-kick but it goes high and wide.
Barcelona have had 69 per cent possession in this encounter, compared to Milan's paltry 31. Carles Puyol is also set to make his comeback for the hosts in a matter of seconds.
Thiago Silva is down in his own box, after a collision with Messi in the box for a low ball, but he eventually gets up after a quick squeeze of the magic sponge by his physio. Meanwhile, Cassano, who has been non-existent, is replaced by Urby Emanuelson!
Feels like I've said Messi's name too much, but he really has been a key figure in Barca's attack. Pedro meanwhile goes close with a lob shot at Abbiati, but it goes just over the bar!
Yellow CardAlessandro Nesta
Some fantastic last-ditch defending from Nesta to slide the ball out for a corner, with the Argentine set to pull the trigger! Villa is also shown the yellow for kicking out at Abate near the corner flag.
The Blaugrana continue to play the ball round with considerable ease, as it is pinged about outside the Milanese area, and they almost find Messi in on goal, but to no avail.
Yellow CardDavid Villa
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!! It's 2-1 for Barcelona, as David Villa curls an absolute BEAUTY of a free-kick into the top left corner. The hosts have the lead for the first time in the game!!
Xavi AGAIN hits another powerful effort from distance, but Abbiati does brilliantly to dive to his right and push the ball away for a corner. Pulsating start, and Barcelona win a free kick in a perilous position through the centre!
Barcelona have yet another break, and it almost develops into something worthwhile, as Messi finds Fabregas, but the ex-Arsenal man's threaded ball rolls off for a goal kick.
And the second 45 is underway here at Camp Nou! Both sides make no changes to their lineups.
JayYeahJay on Twitter says: "Afellay for Villa would be exactly what the doctor ordered for Barcelona to break down this Milan defence." - and he's not half wrong either! Villa has been quiet so far, in complete contrast to his fellow right-siders
OOOHHH!! Xavi unleashes a piledriver from 25 yards out, but it whistles wide! And on that note, the two teams go into the interval with a goal a piece. Send me your tweets to @livmc on Twitter about the game!
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Another midfield man has to end his game prematurely, as Iniesta is the latest victim to pull up with an injury! Fabregas is no scant consolation though, to come off the bench.
GOOOOOOL FOR BARCA!!! Messi flicks the ball between Nesta and Abate, who shrugged off Abate's challenge and prodded the ball across the face of goal to provide Pedro with a tap-in!!!! Sorry about the technical hitch guys, it's all sorted now!
It's a real blow for the visitors, as their Ghanaian outlet in midfield has been forced off the field of play. Ambrosini comes in his place, and it remains to be seen whether or not his energy and tenacity will be missed.
SIMPLY BREATHTAKING FOOTBALL!!! It's the Messi and Alves show, as they interchange superbly between eachother, resulting in the former latching onto a cunning reverse through ball, but the latter can only manage the post from a tight angle on the left!
Villa tries to break the duck for his side with an impressive overhead kick effort from just outside the area, but it goes just over!
VITAL DEFENDING FROM MILAN! Xavi advances to the edge of the box and scoops up a delightful ball up for Messi to chest and smash at goal, but Nesta stands tall and nods it away!
The hosts continue their high possession football, but they just can't seem to break down the Milanese backline. They've tried numerous passes to try and get Messi or Alves through the backdoor, but the visitors are staying firm!
Yellow CardMark van Bommel
MESSIIII!!! The No.10 has a go from distance with a free-kick central to goal, but it hits the post with Abbiati beaten!!!
CLOSE AGAIN!! This time it's Milan, as Pato is giving Busquets and Mascherano a nightmare every time he touches the ball! His agile movement is too explosive for them so far, as he finds Boateng free in the box on the right, but he blazes his shot over the bar.
Barca miss out on a great chance to capitalise on a break, as Seedorf's failed free kick from distance comes out to Abidal, but he is dispossessed in the middle of the park.
Barca again, as Messi makes a trademark mazy run through the middle, but his shot forces Abbiati to push it out to his right. They're not backing down! just yet!
Two more chances to update you with, and they are VERY close for the hosts, as Abidal cuts into the box but sees Abidal expertly keep out his rasping shot, and Villa's half volley only manages the side-netting from a corner!
More build-up play from Barca as we speak, as Xavi is orchestrating everything currently. He makes passing look so effortless at times, but the ball eventually loops into Abbiati's palms.
AC Milan are getting nowhere near the ball, as Barcelona are beginning to get into their stride here. Alves whips in a low cross which, courtesy of a deflection, goes off for another corner. Important touch there from Abbiati to help divert the ball away!
The players have come out amid a barrage of applause, and are lined up in the middle of the park, where they are shaking eachother's hands. The Champions League anthem is also played out in all its glory!
Barcelona have kept possession and are looking dangerous with some build-up play here, but Abate ensures a corner, not a goalscoring chance is formed.
The Barcelona backline were completely taken unawares, as Pato almost runs off his man again! Messi is also found in the box, but Xavi's pass is ruled offside.
The game is underway, AND ALREADY A GOAL WOULD YOU BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!! Milan have taken the lead straight from kick-off, as Alexandre Pato is found frightening easily by Antonio Nocerino with the simplest of through balls, and the Brazilian forward coolly puts it past Valdes one-on-one! INCREDIBLE START TO PROCEEDINGS!
Here's a cheeky fact for you.. Pato's goal was clocked at 23 seconds! Still some way of beating Roy Makaay's 10-second strike for Bayern Munich in 2007, though.
And for Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Nesta, Silva, Zambrotta, Nocerino, van Bommel, Seedorf, Boateng, Pato, Cassano. A total of five changes made for the visitors tonight!
Before I continue, here's a quick recap of the two lineups! Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Busquets, Mascherano, Abidal, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Villa! The big news is at the back as the two defensive midfielders occupy the centre-back spots, and Messi returns to the side!
An absolutely packed out venue here in Catalunya, which is to be expected. Both coaches expressed differing views before the game, with Guardiola attempting to play down the pressure of his team being naturally regarded as favourites for the trophy, and Allegri reiterating the need to not make any mistakes, which hampered their progress last season.
These two teams last faced eachother in the 2005-06 Champions League at the semi-final stage, as Barcelona brushed away their Italian counterparts in a 3-0 aggregate victory, setting up a final with Arsenal which they proceeded to win! Obviously the most famous clash between the pair was in 1994, as the rest they say is history...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the colossal bout between renowned European heavyweights Barcelona and AC Milan! I'm Livio, and I am delighted to have your company in what promises to be a sizzling clash to kick off Group H!
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