Champions League Preview: Barcelona - AC Milan
The Blaugrana need a win at home to ensure progression after a 0-0 draw in the first leg at San Siro last week that featured a fine defensive performance from the Rossoneri
By Adam Scime
Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Adriano
Thiago, Busquets, Iniesta
Sanchez, Messi, Cesc
Abate, Nesta, Mexes, Antonini
Seedorf, Ambrosini, Nocerino
With this Champions League tie finely balanced, Barcelona rested several players in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night, but Carles Puyol is set to return to the starting XI against AC Milan with the Catalan captain in line to partner Gerard Pique in defense.
Xavi also sat out of the game at the weekend and is struggling with a muscular problem which means if he is not passed fit, Thiago could hold on to his midfield role. Defender Eric Abidal and striker David Villa, meanwhile, remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Left-back Adriano also made his comeback from injury against Athletic and is expected to feature while coach Pep Guardiola confirmed that playmaker Cesc Fabregas is available again after recovering from a back problem. The former Arsenal star is competing for a spot up front with Pedro alongside Lionel Messi, who was denied by the Rossoneri defense in the first leg, and Alexis Sanchez.
Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri was hoping to have combative midfielder Mark van Bommel available for selection after he was suspended for the first leg, but the 34-year-old was not included in the 23-man squad due to injury so Massimo Ambrosini should once again feature.
Thiago Silva is still out due to a flexor muscle issue, so veteran Alessandro Nesta will again be in at center back following his impressive showing at San Siro last week.
A boost for the Rossoneri is that Alexandre Pato, who scored during the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in the group stage, received treatment in the USA for his persistent muscle problems and has been selected for the match squad. The Brazilian is reportedly ready to feature, though it may be as a substitute with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho looking likely to lead the line once again.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona has not lost at home in Europe since October 2009, when it was defeated 2-1 by Rubin Kazan.
- The first leg 0-0 draw with Milan marked the first time in 30 matches that Guardiola's men have been held scoreless in Europe.
- Should Messi score, he will break the record of 12 goals in a single Champions League campaign which he currently shares with Ruud van Nistelrooy.
- AC Milan has an all-time record of four wins, five draws and five losses against Barcelona in European competition.
- Allegri's men have yet to win on their travels in the Champions League this season, claiming thee draws and one defeat.
- The Rossoneri defeated Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 Champions League final in Athens.
Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 1-1 Milan
- 17.9 %
Barcelona 3-1 Milan
- 14.43 %
Barcelona 2-0 Milan
- 9.12 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2013||Barcelona 3 - Milan 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 22, 2013||Milan 1 - Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 12, 2013||Barcelona 4 - Milan 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Feb 20, 2013||Milan 2 - Barcelona 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 3, 2012||Barcelona 3 - Milan 1|
|Apr 20, 2014||Barcelona 2 - Athletic Bilbao 1||LIGA|
|Apr 16, 2014||Barcelona 1 - Real Madrid 2||ESPC|
|Apr 12, 2014||Ciudad de Murcia 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|Apr 9, 2014||Atletico Madrid 1 - Barcelona 0||UCL|
|Apr 5, 2014||Barcelona 3 - Betis 1||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
Times In EDT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed