As expected, Italian league leaders AC Milan put up a pretty strong performance at home at the San Siro Stadium last week in the first leg of their quarterfinal Champions League Tie. They managed to escape with a 0-0 draw against Spanish giants and reigning Champions League titleholders Barcelona. Not allowing an away goal means AC Milan can advance to the next round of the competition with any draw by a 1-1 score and up when the two teams meet in the second leg at Barcelona’s Nou Camp on April 3rd 2012.
They’ll have to try and keep Argentinean star Lionel Messi off of the scoreboard though as he leads the tournament with a dozen goals. AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri knows his team will have to play even better than they did in the first leg if they want to make it to the semi finals. He said this game should be treated like a final and his team will need to keep Barcelona from scoring. However, he may want to have a plan B ready since it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep Barcelona off the scoreboard for 90 minutes or longer.
The key in this game is scoring the first goal. If Milan concedes it they still have a good chance at coming back and advancing if they level it at 1-1. If Milan happens to open the scoring the pressure’s going to be on Barcelona to score twice to make sure they advance. Allegri said it’s going to be a tough task since he feels Barcelona is the best team in the world at the moment, but he’s confident his squad will be able to score a goal in Spain.
They managed a 1-1 draw in Catania on the weekend which allowed second-place Juventus to creep within two points of the Serie A lead. Allegri said he’s confident of hanging onto the league lead, but right now everybody’s focused on the game against Barcelona. Look for Kevin Prince-Boateng to play in a supporting role to forwards Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato may also be back in the lineup after healing from a muscle injury. Defender Alessandro Nesta should be back after sitting out on the weekend and so should midfielder Clarence Seedorf.
Barcelona is hoping that midfielder Xavi will be able to play after suffering a muscle injury in the team’s 2-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao on the weekend. In addition, Cesc Fabregas missed the weekend match and may be ready to play against Milan. Barcelona hasn’t lost at home in a European game since 2009 when they were beaten 2-1 by Rubin Kazan.
Barca vs Milan Predictions
This is quite a tough game to predict and Barcelona will be in trouble here if Milan scores first. Look for Milan to advance to the semi finals by earning a draw here or eking out a one-goal win.
The latest odds by William Hill show a Barcelona win at 2/7 at with an AC Milan victory at 11/1 and a 90-minute draw at 4/1.