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Played
November 23, 2011 7:45 PM GMT
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza — Milano
Referee:‬ W. Stark‎
Attendance:‬ 78927‎
 
Mark van Bommel 14′ (OG)
Messi 31′ (PG)
 
Xavi 63′
   
 
 

Player Ratings: AC Milan 2-3 Barcelona

The Catalans triumphed by the odd goal in five at San Siro to clinch top spot in Group H, and Goal.com rates the performers on show

By Kris Voakes at San Siro

  • Christian Abbiati
    508
    97
    3.00

    Christian Abbiati

    Rushed out well to deny Villa, then kept him out when he could have made it 3-1. Made another sprawling save late on to keep Milan in it.

  • Alessandro Nesta
    397
    134
    3.00

    Alessandro Nesta

    Made a brilliant tackle on Villa and then tricked Fabregas with great skill, but was later booked after Xavi went down in the penalty area. He was out on his feet at times trying to keep up with Messi’s dynamic surges, then went down clutching his leg and was replaced by Bonera.

  • Gianluca Zambrotta
    214
    299
    2.50

    Gianluca Zambrotta

    His poorly judged run almost dispossessed Ibrahimovic, while at the back he had the appearance of a rabbit caught in headlights at times. Pushed forward well late on, with only the offside flag denying him a good position to cross for Pato. Booked for a late challenge on Messi.

  • Ignazio Abate
    363
    121
    3.00

    Ignazio Abate

    Lost his man out wide on the opener, then hit his own bar preventing a second. Made a great cover tackle on the edge of the area on Messi, but was living on the edge at times up against Fabregas.

  • Thiago Silva
    444
    91
    3.00

    Thiago Silva

    Made one late foul on Messi out of frustration but got in plenty of quick, clean tackles too. Got up well to Aquilani’s corner but should arguably have hit the target. Unable to be the dominant defender he normally is as Barca left all around him cowering.

  • Mark van Bommel
    195
    301
    2.50

    Mark van Bommel

    Made a superbly-timed tackle on Messi on the edge of the area after the Argentine had beaten two men, but then couldn’t get the ball out of his feet as he turned into his own net. Booked for a crude challenge on Xavi, and later replaced by Nocerino having run out of legs.

  • Alberto Aquilani
    210
    296
    2.50

    Alberto Aquilani

    Couldn’t quite keep with the pace of the game early on, and two late tackles got him booked. Had nowhere near the presence on the ball that he has in Serie A of late, which meant one less attacking threat for the home side.

  • Kevin-Prince Boateng
    867
    81
    3.50

    Kevin-Prince Boateng

    Couldn’t quite beat Valdes to Robinho’s header, and then his foul on Messi led to Barca’s first. His volleyed pass to Robinho should have been turned in, but then he scored himself with a low drive past Valdes after his fantastic flick left Abidal standing.

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    745
    116
    3.50

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    Had the beating of Puyol as he crossed for Boateng to tee up Robinho, then made a great angled run to turn home a left-foot shot. Continued to cause trouble coming from the left side as Puyol struggled, but he gradually saw less and less of the ball as the match progressed.

  • Robinho
    265
    461
    2.00

    Robinho Flop of the Match

    His clever header almost sent in Boateng, but then he amazed everyone by blazing well over from inside the six-yard box. His lack of effectiveness around the area saw him replaced at the break by Pato.

Substitutions

  • Daniele Bonera
    243
    123
    3.00

    Daniele Bonera

    Replaced the injured Nesta soon after Xavi had made it 3-2 and within minutes had brought down Messi for a dangerous free kick which so nearly resulted in a fourth Barca goal. Could have made himself a hero in the 88th minute, but scuffed a left-foot shot.

  • Antonio Nocerino
    316
    72
    0.00

    Antonio Nocerino

    Came on for Van Bommel to freshen the legs up in midfield. His forward burst down the left won Milan a corner, and he got into a late tangle with Sanchez.

  • Alexandre Pato
    325
    161
    2.50

    Alexandre Pato

    Brought on for Robinho at the break and showed early signs of making a difference, but quickly faded as Barca turned the screw every time Milan looked to be back in the game.

  • Víctor Valdés
    206
    297
    3.00

    Víctor Valdés

    Left his near post exposed as Boateng fired in the second equaliser, having earlier beaten out a stinging effort from the Ghanaian.

  • Carles Puyol
    242
    272
    3.00

    Carles Puyol

    Beaten regularly by Ibrahimovic in the first half, even when he forced the Swede to defend at one point. Made important tackles to deny Robinho on two breakaways, but his booking was coming long before his foul on Boateng for which he finally saw yellow.

  • Éric Abidal
    245
    240
    3.00

    Éric Abidal

    Made some excellent breaks forward when the covering Busquets allowed him to attack, but defensively he was nowhere near as sharp. Lost Boateng on a number of occasions, and was completely outfoxed by the Ghanaian as Milan equalised for a second time.

  • Cesc Fàbregas
    419
    230
    3.50

    Cesc Fàbregas

    So nearly made it 2-0 from Thiago’s clever lofted through ball, and then his great run down the left brought a foul out of Abate. The right-back then had to time his tackle well in the area to keep him out again soon after. Replaced by Pedro for the last 10 minutes.

  • Xavi
    577
    247
    3.50

    Xavi

    Timed his run brilliantly to fire calmly home the winner from Messi’s pass. Before and after that it was pass, pass, pass, pass, as Milan became just the latest team unable to break up his fluent nature on the ball which drives Barca on.

  • Thiago Alcántara
    372
    220
    3.00

    Thiago Alcántara

    Failed to take the ball in his stride from Xavi’s pass, but then his superb lifted pass for Fabregas so nearly doubled Barca’s lead. Kept making himself available in the second half, but wasn’t quite as influential as before the break.

  • Javier Mascherano
    258
    245
    3.00

    Javier Mascherano

    Nearly sent in Pato when put under pressure by Seedorf, then was booked for dragging down the Brazilian. Looked unsettled by the many balls played around him as he battled gamely in the central position without dominating.

  • Seydou Keita
    277
    220
    3.00

    Seydou Keita

    Got an important touch in early on after being fooled by Ibrahimovic. Was booked for a dumb foul, but was suitably impressive in the tackle thereafter, and his ability to cover the ground was a valuable commodity.

  • Busquets
    251
    268
    3.00

    Busquets

    He was the key pivot which held the whole formation together, and his awareness of how and when his team was being stretched was excellent. His interception of Seedorf’s pass for Pato at the end was vital.

  • David Villa
    237
    340
    2.50

    David Villa

    Guilty of failing to hit the target on a number of occasions either side of the break, while he lingered too long before testing Abbiati when he could have made it 3-1. Replaced by Sanchez midway through the second half.

  • Messi
    1030
    570
    4.00

    Messi Top of the Match

    Made the extraordinary decision to stop mid-run on the penalty, but made no mistake second time around. His dazzling runs committed defenders time and again, and his pass for Xavi’s winner was simply majestic.

Substitutions

  • Jonathan Dos Santos
    174
    189
    0.00

    Jonathan Dos Santos

    Replaced Thiago at the death.

  • Pedro
    183
    189
    0.00

    Pedro

    Given 10 minutes in place of Fabregas.

  • Alexis Sánchez
    412
    139
    3.00

    Alexis Sánchez

    Replaced Villa midway through the second period and battled well, winning important possession from Aquilani as Milan looked to make it 3-3 late on.

Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
10 1
Messi Messi
Striker
Barcelona
8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atl. Madrid
7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
6 2