Barcelona 3-1 AC Milan     (Barcelona win 3-1 on Aggregate)  



By Alex Byrom
Referees Editor




Lionel Messi scored twice – both penalties – alongside a goal from Andres Iniesta to give Barcelona victory and sent them through to the Semi-Finals for the seventh time in eight years.

Messi, 24, moved into third on the list of all-time goalscorers in the competition as Barca beat Italian Champions AC Milan 3-1, who briefly thought they had a chance, but only briefly.

They were level at 1-1 when midfielder Antonio Nocerino steered in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's pass.

But they had no answer after the break with Andres Iniesta adding a third and they await the winners of Chelsea and Benfica.  

No side has ever retained the trophy in the Champions League era but Pep Guardiola's side must be outstanding favourites to achieve the feat in Munich on 19th May.

Messi inspired them to beat Manchester United in last year's final at Wembley, and the Argentine's incredible goalscoring form could steer the club to another title this year.

? DID YOU KNOW ?

This was the third time in their Champions League history that AC Milan had conceded two penalties in a game.

Barely a week seems to go by without Messi adding another record to his collection, and he quickly chalked up two more to his ever-growing list of personal achievements with his 57th and 58th goals of a remarkable season.

He became the youngest player to score 50 Champions League goals with his first spot-kick, before notching up the most goals in a single campaign as his second of the night – and 14th in total this season – put Barca back ahead. 

Messi then completed the night's work with an assist as his shot was blocked by the hapless Philippe Mexes, only to fall into the path of Iniesta who struck the pivotal third goal into the far corner.

Chelsea could yet bar Guardiola's side's progress – in a repeat of the ill-tempered semi-final of 2009 – and Roberto di Mateo’s side will have seen few chinks in the defending champions' armour during this display.

Massimiliano Allegri's Milan team knew that any score draw would be enough to see them through, and they made a lively start before Messi opened the scoring 11 minutes in.

Disappointingly for the visitors and the neutrals, the goal was a gift as Mexes dawdled on the halfway line and was robbed of possession by Messi.

The forward surprisingly elected to cut the ball back for Xavi instead of shooting, but when the ball came back to Messi he was brought down by Luca Antonini. Referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded the penalty and Messi stroked the ball into the bottom corner with relative ease.

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Barca have never lost when Iniesta has scored.


Milan continued to pose a threat and drew level with a fine goal just after the half hour: Former Manchester City man Robinho hurdled two tackles before finding Ibrahimovic on the edge of the box, and the Swede played a perfectly-weighted through pass which Nocerino placed beyond Victor Valdes.

But the Italians failed to build on that goal and Barcelona were back ahead before the break as Alessandro Nesta gave away another cheap penalty whilst earning a booking for his troubles – or failings.

The vastly experienced defender needlessly grabbed hold of Sergio Busquets inside the area, and Messi struck the ball into the opposite corner.

Messi was instrumental in the third goal as well, and when his low shot struck Mexes to land at Iniesta's feet, the midfielder calmly took a touch before rifling past Christian Abbiati.

That goal crushed Milan's spirit, and the match descended into an exhibition as Barca booked their place in the semi-finals for a fifth successive year.

With Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid still in the mix and a potent Bayern Munich side looking to win the cup on their own ground, Barcelona still face several considerable hurdles before they can lift the trophy again, but Guardiola's men undoubtedly remain the side to beat and if any side is to retain the Champions League, surely no side would get a better chance than Barcelona. 

Tuesday 3rd April

UEFA Champions League

Camp Nou

 

FC Barcelona 3-1 AC Milan                   KO 7:45pm              (HT 2-1)

Messi Pen 11, Pen 42     Nocerino 32
Iniesta 53

 

Barcelona:  01. Valdes- 6/10, 02. Alves- 7/10, 03. Pique- 7/10 (Adriano 75 4.5/10) 14. Mascherano- 6.5/10, 05. Puyol (C)- 7/10, 04. Fabregas- 8/10 (Keita 76- 2.5/10), 16. Busquets- 6.5/10, 06. Xavi- 8/10 (Thiago 53- 5.5/10), 10. Messi- 8.5/10, 39. Cuenca- 7/10 (Rose 80- 1.5/10), 08. Iniesta- 9/10 (Saha 79- 2/10).

Subs not used:  13. Pinto, 09. Sanchez, 17. Pedro, 37. Tello.

Booked:     Mascherano (66), Cuenca (86). 

 

AC Milan:  32. Abbiati- 7/10, 20. Abate- 5/10, 05. Mexes- 4/10, 13. Nesta- 4.5/10 (K Davies 76- 2.5/10), 77. Antonini- 5/10, 22. Nocerino- 6.5/10, 10. Seedorf- 4/10 (Aquilani 61- 3/10), 23. Ambrosini Reo-Coker (C)6/10, 27. Boateng- 5.5/10 (Pato 60- 2/10(Maxi Lopez 83- 1.5/10), 09. Ibrahimovic- 7/10 (Tuncay 79- 1.5/10), 70. Robinho- 5/10.

Subs not used:  01. Amelia, 25. Bonera, 28. Emanuelson, 76. Yepes 

Booked:     Antonini (10), Nesta (40), Seedorf (41), Robinho, (77), Mexes (90+1), Maxi Lopez (90+2), Nocerino (90+3)

My Man of the Match:     Andres Iniesta (FC Barcelona) Rating: 9/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:     Felipe Mexes (AC Milan)- Rating 4/10 


Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)- 5/10
Attendance: 76,169


Match Facts

Possession:   Barcelona- 59%                  AC Milan- 41%

Shots: Barcelona- 16                  AC Milan- 2

Shots on target: Barcelona- 8                  AC Milan- 1

Shots off target: Barcelona- 8                  AC Milan- 1

Corners: Barcelona- 2                  AC Milan- 4

Fouls: Barcelona- 9                  AC Milan- 19

Offside: Barcelona- 2                  AC Milan- 4

Assists: Barcelona - Messi                 AC Milan- Ibrahimovic

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