Almost let in Dani Alves when he failed to hold Messi’s low shot, then was very lucky not to be penalised when his late sprawling challenge brought down Sanchez. Reacted well to foil Tello late on.
After a magnificent tackle on Messi, the Italian also made a vital block as Xavi looked to finish off a great passing move with a drive at goal. Stopped Sanchez in full flight, but then earned a yellow card for a tactical foul on Messi. His lack of recent games counted against him physically though, and he was replaced for the final 15 minutes.
Given the thankless task of stopping Messi in the last 25 yards, the Frenchman did a decent job of following the Argentine around and giving him something to think about at every turn. Found it difficult at times to stay with him when he attacked from deep, and he was less of a force after the break.
Did well to follow the ball in from Messi’s shot, and was able to deny Alves after Abbiati spilt possession. Trumped that with a magnificent tackle on Sanchez as the Chilean broke into the area, before producing another superb challenge on Tello in the dying moments.
Made a couple of vital tackles, particularly one on Messi in the second half, and used his experience to phase out a number of dangerous attacks. Found it difficult to react to the pace and quick feet of Tello when the youngster came on for Iniesta.
Too often failed to get the ball to another white shirt when well placed on the right, though his belligerent style of play saw him get into the game more in the second period. His tough tackling style give Keita little joy on the occasions he attempted to get into key positions.
Given the job of detailing Messi when he dropped away from the forward line, and did it well for most of the game. His accumulation of fouls resulted in a yellow card midway through the second half, but with the amount of tackles he made successfully, it was no surprise one or two would be mistimed.
Playing with his head up throughout, the Dutchman led the midfield well. His perfectly weighted through ball almost resulted in a goal for Ibrahimovic, but then his foul on Xavi earned him a yellow card. Didn’t quite connect when looking to volley home Nocerino’s cross, though he picked up some great positions around the box, forcing a number of late blocks.
Not for the first time against Barcelona this season, a horrendous miss in front of the Curva Nord conditioned his game. The Brazilian never got over his early error, and was utterly anonymous for much of the match thereafter, resulting in his substitution in the 52nd minute.
Had a quiet first 19 minutes, but then latched onto Seedorf’s throughball and shot left-footed, but his touch was too light and Valdes smothered. Returned to the fringes of proceedings thereafter, and though his ability made him a danger, he was foiled more than once when failing to take the ball down effectively.
The Ghanaian never really looked likely to dominate his territory, and he often found himself a long way from Robinho and Ibrahimovic, meaning he found it difficult to impose himself high up the pitch. Replaced by Emanuelson at the three-quarter mark.
Had to be on his toes to smother Ibrahimovic’s left-foot strike, but was asked too few questions after that as Milan fluffed their lines in front of goal, with Robinho and Emanuelson being most culpable.
Too easily side-stepped by Boateng, giving Milan easy territory in the first half, then failed to get in testing crosses when well positioned. His passing in general play was largely fine though.
His last-ditch header was crucial in cutting out Robinho’s cross for Ibrahimovic midway through the first half as Milan looked to stretch Barca’s back line. His diving header from Xavi’s corner just flashed across the goal in one of the few real efforts at goal after the break.
Found it difficult stopping Ibrahimovic from turning inside him as Milan attacked the flanks, but he regularly beat his former team-mate in the air as the Rossoneri resorted to launching from deep to relieve pressure.
Provided good shape to the left of Barcelona’s midfield, and was quick to put in tackles as Milan looked to build from the centre. Got lucky when his late challenge on Boateng wasn’t spotted by the referee, but then made his way into the book for fouling Ambrosini.
Should have been punished for giving away the ball just 20 yards from his own goal in the opening moments, but Robinho let him off. Made up for it with some tigerish challenges when covering in behind Alves, and was rarely made to look out of place.
Yet another hard-working shift from the Spaniard, with his breaking up of play in the middle being of vital importance to Barcelona. Largely allowed to deliver passes untouched by Milan as he rarely got far enough forward to play a killer final ball.
Started the game fairly quietly, but came into the ascendancy either side of half-time with some testing passes in and around the Milan back line. Never looked close to his trademark best though, and was replaced by Tello just after the hour.
However much Milan detailed Messi, the Spanish midfielder remained a real threat, and his one-two with the Argentine almost produced a goal as Abbiati was forced into a smart save. Saw another effort blocked by Nesta before he sent another just wide as he became Barca’s biggest threat in the first half.
Should have been awarded a penalty when he was brought down by Abbiati, regardless of how heavy his touch was. Then broke superbly into the Milan box, only to be denied by a magnificent Antonini tackle. Faded in the second half, and was replaced by Pedro.
Despite the close attention of Mexes and Ambrosini, he still looked like the man who could do the most damage, and his low shot in the first half was too hot for Abbiati to handle. An excellent return pass sent in Xavi for perhaps Barca’s best chance of the game, but his second half was a quiet one, with his free kick over the bar about as close as he came.
- 1 M. Amelia
- 76 M. Yepes
Nesta’s lethargy allowed him the chance to make up for his horror show at Arsenal in the last round, and he acquitted himself well in the short time he was on the pitch.
Came on for Boateng and immediately spurned a great chance in the right channel when he miscontrolled on his first touch. Played better thereafter, but never got the chance to make up for his error.
- 18 A. Aquilani
S. El Shaarawy
Replaced the ineffective Robinho early in the second half, and he added an extra dimension at times to the Milan attack, especially when running at Puyol down the right.
- 21 M. López
- 13 Pinto
- 35 Martín Montoya
- 26 Muniesa
- 4 Fàbregas
Entered the fray in place of Sanchez for the final 15 minutes, but couldn’t leave a game-winning impression.
- 11 Thiago Alcântara
Brought on after the early departure of Iniesta, and gave Bonera a tough time with his quick feet. Hit one effort into the side-netting after getting beyond the full-back.