By Greg Robertson
Welcome to Stadio San Siro for the tie of the round where we have the first leg quarter final Champions League 2012 match up between Associazione Calcio Milan (AC Milan) at home to FC Barcelona. Messi is on fire for Los Cules and it will take a mighty defensive effort from the Rossoneri to stop him getting into worldwide highlight packages.
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LIVE COMMENTARY… AC Milan 0 V FC Barcelona 0
That's it FINAL SCORE 0-0. Thanks for coming.
92 mins: Xavi lets rip from distance but no save required from Abbiati.
89 mins: Some hopeful shouts for a penalty as Milan make their way into the box but there is nothing in that but good Barca defence. + 3minutes
87 mins: Messi takes advantage of a slip, shoots oh great save from Abbiati spoons it to a charging Tello who sees the net but Milan somehow keeps it up. WOW. Video up.
84 mins: Well this could potentially be the first Champions League game in two-and-a-half years where Barcelona has not scored a goal.
80 mins: Tello with the leg over and then pushes the ball past and chases but Abbiata anticipated the move from the winger and slid out to stop any chance.
77 mins: Tello fins Messi free and he wellies at goal but a foot in squirts the shot away for a corner. Great bit of defence. From the corner Puyol gets a head to it and it slices agonisingly close to the far upright...Oh, shirt pulling... should have been a penalty! That was right in front of the ref and Mesbah was pulling on his shirt so much it was stretched out a good yard. Video up soon.
Sanchez off for Barca and Pedro Rodriguez on.
73 mins: Barca has been stifled for much of the second half... here we go... Messi finds Sanchez... Tello hits the side netting. Video up. More changes now... Nesta off and Mesbah on for Milan.
69 mins: Ibrahimovic strong non the ball and holds of the challenge only to square it straight to Valdes. Ambrosini gets a yellow for a clip... nothing in it.
67 mins: Oh Emanuelson bearing down on goal after chasing a through ball and his first touch - of the game - is very heavy losing any chance of a strike at goal.
Boateng off for Milan and Emanuelson on.
65 mins: Some trickery in the box but things a bit too intricate for Barca and the final ball from Iniesta is too strong for Xavi. Messi then dribbles square of the box... and dribbles... and dribbles.... and wins the corner as he reaches the byline. FIRST CORNER OF THE GAME. Cleared.
63 mins: Messi caught ball-watching... hmm... not sure I've ever said that before.
60 mins: An hour gone and Milan are coming back into this. You watch, I say that and Barca will blast one past Abbiati. Keita cautioned with a yellow card as he reaches in. Possession now 63% to 37% in Barca's favour.
57 mins: Nocerino should have shot then, they broke did Milan and it was pushed wide to Nocerino who tries to square instead of shoot. Wrong choice. Messi breaks away and is brought down for a free kick about 28 yards out. Antonini carded for the challenge. Messi beats the crossbar with the shot - always too high.
54 mins: Bit of a scrappy start to the second half with a few fouls being committed, Ibrahimovic struggling to come to terms with the Barcelona offside trap... and players rolling around in agony more than they actually feel the pain.
51 mins: El Shaarawi, the Under 21 international, comes on for Robinho who has been out of sorts.
49 mins: Robinho loses the ball and Alves breaks away but a foul halts things.
46 mins: Wrong side of the post by Iniesta but one of the cleanest strikes so far. Video up of the effort.
Okay, second half now very close to getting underway... the whistle goes for play to begin... 45 minutes of more like the first please... with a few in the net maybe. NO HALFTIME CHANGES.
45 mins: Story of this half has been plenty of chances, no goals... and players trying to keep their feet.
43 mins: Xavi Hernandez again with a shot, high... shooting from range difficult on this surface as it's a bit of bobble and a touch of slip.
39 mins: Iniesta with a poor show there. Alves screams for it on the far right and he gets it delivered to his chest, he volleys it into the box, it's flicked over and straight to Iniesta who strikes first time but without direction.
34 mins: Messi with a litle chip finds Dani Alves arriving back post, centres it but the deflected shot falls to Abbiati. Sanchez is though!! He charges and he's been chased down but he's away, but the left back comes back at him and that's a great challenge. How many chances does Sanchez want??? Video up.
31 mins: Had Xavi drilled this one home it would have been picture-perfect... Sanchezwith a cheeky little backheel to give Xavi the clean shot on target. again, not strike it with massive authority. Video up. Plenty of goal scoring chances for both sides - more for Barcelona - with neither anything to show for it.
29 mins: Barca scrambling at the back from time to time and then look a little unsettled... lucky for them the Milan chances have been squandered too... one then just blasted clean over the top.
25 mins: Barca open up space when there appeared to be none with Messi and Xavi combine, Xavi striking to force a good save from Abbiati. Video up. A sweeter strike from Xavi and I think Barca would have taken the lead, he scuffed it a bit.
24 mins: After a little bit of Milan pressure Barcelona decides to play it at a different pace and with what seemed like a flick of the switch they've slowed things down, pushing it about - pass, pass, foot on, turn, pass, pass, pass - and from the Milan white shirts it's - chase, chase, scramble, turn, chase and chase some more... tiring.
21 mins: Almost another defensive Barca slip as the Puyol header goes straight to Ibrahimovic. The scrambling defence though cleans up.
19 mins: what a save from Valdes. Milan's striker Ibrahimovic must have thought he was about to give the home side the lead, taking an early shot as a direct ball finds him on the edge of the penalty area, centre field. He shoot but valdes is down quick. Video up. He's starting to turn on his charms is the striker.
17 mins: Barcelona again dominant and MESSI PUTS ONE AWAY... but the goal WON'T COUNT.... he was caught offside from the delivery pass for the tap in. Video up.
16 mins: Penalty??? NO, great worked set piece move carves the Milan backs in two and Sanchez looks like he's brought down - 50-50 call - by Abbiati. There was contact but was it enough? Video up.
13 mins: Barcelona buzzing around the Milan penalty area though this time there is no sting from the boots of the Barca strike force. Plenty of Milan white shirts behind the ball as they try and keep the visitor's in check. Ambrosini to eager with the challenge on Messi and takes out both legs. Free kick well outside, maybe 30 yards...
11 mins: Wow, Messi is finding a lot of space - Milan need to get tighter. He's getting in between players and Milan defenders and midfielders are looking at each other saying, "You mark him," ... and the reply maybe something like, "Stuff that... I don't want to look silly tonight on the big stage. He's yours". The result... space for Messi.
9 mins: Another good chance for Barca as Messi shoots and Abbiati can't hold it, Alves on the follow up his a chance to slip it by the keeper but it goes wide. Video up. Surface is slippy as the players start skidding about - the Messi freekick the perfect example.
8 mins: Milan pressing high and forcing the turnovers at the back.
5 mins: Moment of trouble for Milan... Messi over a freekick just outside the area... Messi slips as he hits it and it somehow falls to Keita - should have scored. Video up.
4 mins: Messi with a huge run down the left and he smashes it square across the box but Barca players all make the same run near. Video up.
2 mins: Ohhhh golden opportunity goes begging for Milan as Boateng has plenty of time on the edge of the box and the deflection falls to Robinho - rusty - who should have side footed it top corner. Video up.
1 min: Early ball to Milan pushing it around and then a through ball finding Boateng but the Barca defence steps up in unison with perfect time to catch him offside.
The epic voyage has begun...
They shake hands and we are set for some play... big surprise for Barca is the defensive minded midfielder Keita in for Fabregas.
Teams are in a line out on the pitch... we'll get some video highlights up of the match as soon as they happen. How excited about this one are you? It's to be a tickler. Milan had plenty of injury concerns pre-game but they've got nearly their best possible 11 out on the pitch including Robinho who most were concerned about. He's there though.
Barca's manager Josep Guardiola wants Messi to "receive the ball as much as possible" so he can show his talent. Yeah, no surprise to football fans that Messi has a touch of talent... 12 goals in this campaign alone and one more for the record in UEFA Champions League era and if he scores two then it's the most ever including the former competition... period.
Will Ibrahimovic add to his five champs league goals or will it me the classic - some Messi magic - that makes the difference? Ibrahimovic says, "We have to play the perfect game to go through".
We have our live pictures and we are getting ready for the match of the quarterfinals - the 2007 champions up against the holders... seeking their fifth consecutive semifinal appearance. Job 1 for Barca... withstand the heat from Milan home fans at the San Siro.
Kick off is not far away but in the meantime watch Barcelona getting ballistic over Bayer 7-1. Click on the video button above.
AC Milan: Abbiati, Bonera, Nesta, Mexes, Antonini, Nocerino, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Boateng, Robinho, Ibrahimovic.
Subs: Amelia, Mesbah, Aquilani, Maxi Lopez, Emanuelson, Yepes, El Shaarawi.
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Puyol, Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi, Keita, Messi, Sanchez.
Subs: Pinto, Fabregas, Thiago, Pedro, Muniesa, Montoya, Tello.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
Barcelona trained at the San Siro on Tuesday (27th March) ahead of Wednesday's first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final with AC Milan.
The two sides met in the group stages earlier in the competition, the Spaniards won 3-2 at the San Siro, while the return match at the Nou Camp ended in a 2-2 draw.
AC Milan have never lost a home leg in the Champions League quarter-finals, but Barcelona won't be intimidated by that record having won at the San Siro on their last two occasions against AC Milan, this year and also 1-0 in 2006, in the semi-finals.
Barcelona are looking to qualify for their fifth successive Champions League semi-final.
Lionel Messi trained on Tuesday with the four-time European champions, as he looks to add to his impressive goal tally for the club in the competition this season.
The 24 year old Argentine has scored twelve goals so far, including five against Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of Barca's round of 16 tie against the German side, a match which Pep Guardiola's team won 7-1.
Messi was the first person to score five goals in a Champions League match and he has already surpassed Cesar Rodriguez as Barcelona's leading goalscorer of all time.
It’s a great opportunity for the Stadio San Siro crowd to see Messi live, streaming forward with ball at feet as though tied to his shoelaces.
The question will be if the home side has enough defences to withstand the maestro’s charms.
It is the first time since the 2006/07 season that AC Milan have reached the last eight of the Champions League, a season in which they lifted the trophy after beating Liverpool 2-1 in the final.
AC Milan got past English Premier League side Arsenal in the round of 16, beating them 4-0 at the San Siro, before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
The Rossoneri will have to be at their defensive best to try and negate the threat of Lionel Messi, who has scored twelve goals in the competition, including five against Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of Barca's round of 16 clash.
The second leg between Barcelona and AC Milan takes place on April 3rd, with the winners facing either Benfica or Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Some interesting match facts are: The last time that Barcelona lost a Champions League knockout tie came against Italian opposition. They lost 3-1 at the San Siro against Inter Milan in the 2009-10 semi final first leg, before winning 1-0 at home in the second leg.
Since losing that tie, Barcelona have scored 60 goals in 21 games in the Champions League and have lost just once (v Arsenal in Feb 2011).AC Milan have won only four of their last 15 Champions League games.
Barcelona are unbeaten in their last five meetings with AC Milan, winning three and drawing two of these games.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in five of his last six appearances in the Champions League, as well as providing three assists in this period.
Barcelona have taken more penalties than any other team in the Champions League this season (three).There have been five penalties awarded in the eight AC Milan games in the Champions League this season (three conceded, two won).Barcelona have averaged 74.3% possession in their games so far this season – the next best team have averaged 62.6%.
Lionel Messi has scored 30 goals in his last 25 appearances in the Champions League for Barcelona.
AC Milan have won possession with 85% of their tackles in the Champions League this season; a higher proportion than any other team.