Barcelona has a bit of a hill to climb as they go home to Spain to take on Italian side AC Milan in the second leg of their European Champions League round-of-16 tie on Tuesday March 12. The Serie A squad pulled off a bit of an upset by winning the first leg at home in Italy 2-0. Barcelona now has the chance to win the series in their home match at the Nou Camp. However, to do so, they’ll need to become the first team in the tournament’s history to come back from a 2-0 loss in a first leg at this stage of the event to reach the quarterfinals without having an away goal to their name.
Sportsbook Bet365 has the latest odds of a Milan win at 8/1 with a Barcelona victory at 1/3 and a draw at 4/1. They also offer special free bets and promos for this game.
Of course, it’s not really an impossible task though. For the Spanish La Liga leaders to go through they need to win at least 2-0 to force 30 minutes of extra time and a possible penalty kick showdown. If they win 3-0 or up without conceding a goal they’ll advance to the next round. Things get a little more complicated after that. If they win by two goals but allow a goal against, then AC Milan would advance due to the away goals rule. This means they will have to win by at least three goals if they concede one. All Milan needs to do is draw the game at any score, win it, or even lose 1-0 to go through. They can also lose by two goals as long as they score one themselves.
Considering what Barcelona has achieved over the past few years, it certainly wouldn’t be much of a shock if they come back and win this tie. They also beat Milan in the quarterfinal stage of the competition at home last season and beat them in the semifinals back in 2006. Barcelona goes into the game after a 2-0 win on the weekend over Deportivo La Coruna, but they lost their two previous matches to Real Madrid. One of these was in the league and the other was in the Copa del Rey. When you throw in the loss to Milan, they’ve been beaten three times lately.
AC Milan is certainly in better form when it comes to production as they haven’t lost in their past 10 league contests. They’ve won seven of them while earning a single point with draws in the other three. They’re in third place in Serie A and are trying to make a late push, but are still 11 points adrift of league-leading Juventus. They won the first leg against Barcelona on goals by Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Barcelona expects to have Xavi, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Victor Valdes, and Jordi Alba all in the team after they sat out on the weekend. For AC Milan, Boateng and Philippe Mexes will likely be game time decisions as they need to pass fitness tests. Other than that, they should have everybody else available who played in the first leg. Of course, misfit Mario Balotelli won’t be able to play since he’s cup-tied after paying earlier in the tournament with his former club Manchester City.
This is an extremely tough game to call. A lot will depend on Milan’s approach to the game. If they can grab a goal first they might lose the game, but there’s a good chance they’ll win the tie. Look for Barcelona to win this game, but as for them going through, that’s a tossup.