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UEFA Champions League

  • February 20, 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
  • Referee: C. Thomson
  • • Attendance: 79532
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AC Milan-Barcelona Preview: Allegri's side set for Blaugrana test

The in-form Rossoneri face one of the most intimidating challenges in European football as they prepare to do battle with the Catalans at San Siro on Wednesday

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

AC MILAN

Abbiati
Abate, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio
Montolivo, Ambrosini, Nocerino
Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaarawy

BARCELONA

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


AC Milan will assess forward Stephan El Shaarawy (knee) ahead of the Champions League last-16 clash against Barcelona.

Mario Balotelli is cup-tied and Nigel de Jong is sidelined with an ankle injury, but Giampaolo Pazzini (hamstring) is available.

Elsewhere, Daniele Bonera (thigh) and Robinho (knee) are doubts, while Philippe Mexes returns after serving a one-game European ban.

Barcelona are boosted by the return of playmaker Xavi, who has recovered from a hamstring problem.

However, Adriano (thigh), Eric Abidal and David Villa (both illness) have not made the trip to Italy.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • AC Milan are on a seven-game unbeaten run in Serie A and have won their last six matches at San Siro in all competitions.
  • The Rossoneri faced Barcelona four times in the Champions League last season, drawing two and losing two. Their overall home record against Spanish opposition is W11, D6, L6.
  • Bojan Krkic (pictured, right) made 163 appearances for Barca between 2007 and 2011, scoring 41 goals.
  • Barcelona have won eight of their last 11 away matches in the Champions League and are targeting a sixth straight quarter-final appearance.
  • The Catalan giants are on a seven-match unbeaten streak against Milan. Their overall record on Italian soil is W6, D7, L5.
  • Lionel Messi has scored 56 goals in the Champions League, level with Ruud van Nistelrooy and behind only Raul (71).

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
32Christian AbbiatiGoalkeeper
5Philippe MexesDefender
17Cristian ZapataDefender
20Ignazio AbateDefender
21Kevin Constant Midfielder
9Kevin-Prince BoatengMidfielder
18Riccardo MontolivoMidfielder
21Massimo AmbrosiniMidfielder
4Sulley MuntariMidfielder
11Giampaolo PazziniStriker
92Stephan El ShaarawyStriker
14Marco AmeliaGoalkeeper
2Mattia De SciglioDefender
33Mario YepesDefender
24Bryan CristanteMidfielder
-Bakaye TraoréMidfielder
-Bojan KrkicStriker
78M'Baye NiangStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
5Carles PuyolDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
10MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
20TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Massimo Ambrosini
Massimo Ambrosini
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 21
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The veteran midfielder is set to be handed the role of shackling Lionel Messi again after doing such a stellar job in last season’s quarter-final first leg between the two sides, which ended goalless. If AC Milan are to have any chance to progressing, they must do all they can to make sure they do not concede at home.
Messi
Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Argentine superstar has scored in a record 14 consecutive Liga matches and took his Barcelona tally past the 300-mark during the weekend victory at Granada. Man-marking Messi is easier said than done, so Milan will need to work as a collective unit defensively if they are to keep him at bay.
Prediction

Milan look a much weaker side than the one that bowed out in last season’s quarter-final, while Barcelona have arguably gotten stronger since then. Nonetheless, the Rossoneri are still quite capable of packing bodies in the Barca midfield and stifling their flowing football in heavy traffic, while the likes of El Shaarawy and Pazzini can catch the Catalans’ suspect rearguard on the break.

Editor's Prediction
Milan 1

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