The 2012/2013 season has been one full of shocks and surprises, and there was yet another in store for football fans last night in the UEFA Champions League.
A 2-0 home victory for AC Milan should hardly register as a surprise, but on this occasion it happens to be the case due to the fact it came against the mighty Barcelona.
The Champions League favourites travelled to the San Siro for the first leg of this last 16 tie in confident mood, with the La Liga title all but wrapped up and Lionel Messi continuing his quest to be remembered as the greatest player of all time.
AC Milan found themselves heavy underdogs, despite their illustrious history in European football. Massimiliano Allegri’s side currently sit third in Serie A and eleven points behind runaway leaders Juventus.
However this proved to be the underdogs night.
A cagey first half saw Barcelona play their usual keep ball game, pressing and probing patiently for an opening. But Milan remained defensively disciplined, and went in at half time at 0-0.
The second half saw the Rossoneri come flying out of the traps starting to take the game to their Catalan opposition.
The deadlock was broken on 57 minutes in controversial circumstances, as a deflected Milan free kick appeared to strike the arm of Cristian Zapata before falling perfectly for Ghanaian international midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.
The former Spurs and Portsmouth man swivelled and hit a perfectly placed left footed shot across Victor Valdes into the bottom corner to send the hosts into the lead.
Cue 20 minutes of solid Barcelona pressure, but Milan’s defensive discipline was there to be admired by all. Lionel Messi had a particularly quiet evening by his lofty standards.
The hosts continued to threaten on the counter attack, and with just nine minutes remaining another ex-Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari finished off a beautiful move, volleying home Stephan El Shaarawy’s perfectly lobbed through ball to complete a perfect smash and grab performance.
That was how things finished and Barca who were coached by assistant Jordi Roura on the night have it all to do at the Camp Nou in three weeks time if they are to stay in the Champions League.
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