FC Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (Barça win 4-2 on aggregate)

barcelona 4-0 ac milan messi celebrationOh boy, didn’t that feel good? Barça stormed into the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals tonight with a stupendous 4-0 victory over AC Milan at Camp Nou. Needing to overcome a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, and with doubters predicting the end of an era, Barça levelled the tie with two first half goals from a superb Leo Messi. David Villa fired in Barça’s third early in the second half and despite some extremely tense moments due to the double value of a possible away goal, Barça defended firmly and an injury time goal from Jordi Alba put the icing on the cake of a glorious night.

Jordi Roura and Tito Vilanova kept everybody guessing about the starting XI and the big surprise, just over an hour before kick off, was that club captain Carles Puyol was not included in the team. There was also no place for either Alexis Sanchez or Cesc Fabregas as Barça lined up with ten of the eleven that started in the Wembley final in 2011,with the only difference being Jordi Alba in place of Eric Abidal. For Milan Max Allegri opted for  Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Montolivo, Ambrosini, Flamini, Niang, Boateng and El Shaarawy.

From the kick off it was clear that Barça were playing a defence of three, with Dani Alves playing a more forward role on the right wing. Pedro started on the left with Villa as centre forward and Messi playing the attacking point of a midfield diamond. The system required a very high pressing game which we haven’t seen for some time, but tonight the players showed a hunger and fighting spirit which was demonstrated in every fifty-fifty ball.

In the first five minutes the pattern for the game was set with Barça regaining possession at lightning speed whenever Milan got the ball. Then in the fifth minute Barça attacked down the left, Iniesta, Pedro and Busquets combined to send the ball to Messi who played a quick one-two with Xavi before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner from just inside the area.

barcelona 4-0 ac milan messi first goalIt was the perfect start and Barça showed no sign of letting up. Milan managed a timid attack in response when El-Shaawary scuffed his shot wide but generally Barça’s intense pressing game meant we were winning every ball that Milan tried to play forward. There was a shout for a penalty when Abate seemed to foul Pedro as he looked for Xavi’s long pass. Then in the 13th minute Iniesta played a one-two with Pedro before cracking in a shot that Abbiati saved with the help of the crossbar and Messi following up could only head the ball into the sidenetting.

Barça were incessant. Even Messi was working hard to chase down defenders, provoking Abate into a back pass which Villa was very close to intercepting. Soon after Abbiati had to stretch to tip Xavi’s 25-yarder past the post. Camp Nou was buzzing but with the score at 1-0 there was still an awful lot to do. Pedro headed wide from Alves’s cross but the chances began to dry up. Milan began to look more comfortable and after Jordi Alba ran into a blind alley Milan attacked quickly down the right but El-Shaawary’s acrobatic attempt at an overhead kick failed to connect with Niang’s cross. El-Shaawary then had a low shot from the left that Valdés covered comfortably while at the other end Alves fired a yard wide with a low shot from outside the area.

There was obviously a need for Barça to take risks but when two of our defensive three, Piqué and Alba, combined on the left wing for Alba to cross it was pushing things a touch too far. Milan cleared the ball quickly, Mascherano failed to cut it out and Niang was suddenly clean through on goal. Camp Nou held its breath as the dreaded away goal seemed inevitable. There was then the most enormous sigh of collective relief as the young striker’s shot bounced out off the far post.

barcelona 4-0 ac milan messi second goalFrom a possible 1-1 a minute later it was 2-0. Iniesta robbed Ambrosini 45 yards out and then sent a firm pass to Messi on the edge of the area, the control was good and the finish from the four-time Ballon d’Or was typically lethal, firing low, through Mexes’s legs and into the corner past Abbiati’s dive. Nobody could complain at Barça going in 2-0 at half time though the tie was still delicately balanced.

The second half began with a run from Messi past two that ended with Abbiati making a comfortable save. The intention from Barça was clear: to keep Milan pinned back in their half. The Italians managed another timid attempt on goal when Boateng hooked a corner well wide but the next goal always looked more likely to come from home side. It arrived in the 55th minute and again we were rewarded for our intense pressing when Mascherano won the ball back in Milan’s half, quick touches from Iniesta and Xavi sent in Villa on the right and the Asturian curled his shot inside the far post to an eruption of joy from Camp Nou.

barcelona 4-0 ac milan villa goal 3-0The hardest part had been achieved but with 35 minutes remaining there was still plenty of time for Milan to search for the all important away goal. Barça continued with the intense pressing but with a more conservative approach in possession. Little by little Milan  edged forward with Robinho and Muntari on for Niang and Ambrosini, but Barça defended firmly. The was one shot that took a pinball effect bouncing off a couple of players but Milan couldn’t pounce on the loose ball and the danger was cleared.

The atmosphere was unbelievably tense going into the last 15 minutes as Bojan was brought on for Flamini and Alexis and Puyol replaced Villa and Mascherano. There was still relatively little real danger on Valdés’s goal but the game was being played more and more in Barça’s half. In the 80th minute Busquets had to make an excellent tackle to prevent one burst into the area. Then a minute later Bojan almost ruined Barça’s night after nipping past Piqué on the left but his low cross towards Robinho was brilliantly anticipated by Alba.

It was almost too much to bear. Roura brought on Barça’s final substitute, Adriano for Pedro, as the team put in a final effort to hold on. The work-rate was exceptional throughout and Milan could find little more in the final minutes. In injury time Messi lead a breakaway, feeding Alexis on the right, and then, as if to typify Barça’s undying attacking philosophy, with Milan still just one goal away from qualification, it was a defender, Jordi Alba, sprinting forward to meet Alexis’s cross and slot the ball home. Madness? Brilliance? You tell me. It was certainly a fabulous way to finish an unforgettable night.

Barça (3-4-3): Valdés 7.5; Piqué 8.5, Mascherano 9 (Puyol m77, 6.5), Jordi Alba 8; Busquets 9, Xavi 9, Iniesta 9.5, Messi 10; Alves 8.5, Villa 8 (Alexis m74, 7.5), Pedro 7.5 (Adriano m83, 7).

Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, Ambrosini (Muntari m60), Flamini (Bojan m75); Boateng, Niang (Robinho m60), El Shaarawy.

Goals: m5 Messi 1-0, m39 Messi 2-0, m55 Villa 3-0, m92 Alba 4-0.

Yellow cards: m22 Boateng, m41 Pedro (misses next CL match), m45+1 Flamini, m54 Mexes,

Attendance: 94,944

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27 Responses to FC Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (Barça win 4-2 on aggregate)

  1. I am speechless! There again, I never doubted. I am numb. Maybe this needs to sink in first. I must have aged at least two years from the stress of this game. See you soon Nic, I will be in Barcelona late April.

  2. The annihilation was a surprise.

  3. Rod Roc says:

    It was obvious, but can’t wait for a rematch against Real Madrid

    • layibiyi says:

      Common, you want to play ‘those guys’ again so soon?? 🙂

      I’ll like to see u against bayern, juventus or dortmund next. Those are going to be some games

  4. Pingback: FC Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (Barça win 4-2 on aggregate) | cftc10

  5. Pingback: FC Barcelona 4 AC Milan 0 (Barça win 4-2 on aggregate) | amidiabetic

  6. barcacentralnic says:

    Video of the comeback – http://vimeo.com/61676568

  7. leebabysims says:

    Villa gets a 8?? Second lowest evaluation except Pedro on the entire team after Villa score the winning goal in our most important game of the year and best come back in years? WTF? Well, I guess it beats admitting you were wrong about Villa.

    Jessze. Y’all never change. Yeah, let’s start headcase Alexis (7.5) over Spain’s all time goal scorer and world cup champion Villa. Okay, so you were wrong, big deal, but then you have to double-down with your objective post game evaluation of giving him the second lowest score on the team. I don’t mean to be a troll, but you were dead wrong, and instead of admitting it you give him a low evaluation. Villa scored the game winner in one of our most important games ever. You should be ashamed, not only for not wanting to start him, a no brainer, but then demeaning his clutch accomplishment. Seriously. No shame?

  8. layibiyi says:

    Congrats to the boys!!

    The tension was crazy. Away goals rule is some crazy ish….haha

  9. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    Okay i’ll make a weird confession!! I have always been annoyed with Alexis, lately. But his assist for the forth had BARCELONA written all over it! What a peach of a pass. He actually curled the low cross behind the last defender. That is very easy to watch BUT NOT EASY TO DO,,,really!! That WAS ABSOLUTE CLASS FROM ALEXIS!!

  10. Caleb says:

    That was sick. I didn’t think it was going to happen. I’m so proud of the team.

  11. bc9jaCule says:

    “Madness? Brilliance?” I’ll tell you what – BOTH!!!!!

    The euphoria that filled me last night was utterly indescribable. That was an absolute Guardiola era-esque performance last night – completely daring, clinical, effective and efficient to the boot. Both of Messi’s goals and Villa’s were products of sheer class while Alexi’s assist and Alba’s pitch-length sprint for the 4th goal were just purely devastating and ruthless. I never doubted our soldiers and they delivered in the most emphatic fashion on a night when even the football “know-alls” doubted them. I’m even happier that I called the scoreline just perfectly in the match preview. Take a bow comrades, you’ve done us proud and it’s because of nights as such that we breath the Blaugrana in both the sweet and trying times. Again, take a bow comrades!!!!!

    Animo Tito!!!!!
    Visca Roura!!!!!
    Visca Barca!!!!!
    Forca Barca!!!!!

  12. barcacentralnic says:
  13. Ken Harrison says:

    Fantastico….

  14. barcacentralomer says:

    Being wrong rarely feels so right….:0
    I was one of the people who thought Barca would crash out of the CL after this fixture but boy am I glad the team proved me and many others like me wrong. On a serious note though, I thought the 4-3-3 wouldn’t work and Barca came out with a Plan A (revised) instead of a Plan B to stun Milan and many others who thought this was the end of Barca’s participation in the CL for this season. Even an 3-0 I was worried we’d concede and as a Barca fan its nerve wracking what our defence always does to us – but thankfully and due to a below par Milan performance we came away with a clean sheet in one of the most memorable wins I’ve witnessed as Barca fan.

    Right now I don’t want to analyse the match too much, just want to celebrate a fantastic win that still keeps our CL dream alive. Like the CL finals in 2006,2009 and 2011 – this victory will be part of Barca folklore for many many years.

    Visca Barca!

  15. barcacentralnic says:

    Possible Barca opponents in the Champions League Quarter-Finals: Dortmund, Real Madrid, Galatasaray, Juve, PSG, Bayern, Malaga

  16. barcacentralomer says:

    No disrespect to Gala and Malaga but I don’t want us to face the likes of Real, Juve,PSG and Bayern at this stage of the CL. I’d think we’d even be happy playing against Dortmund.

  17. Caleb says:

    I’d rather not face Real. Not that we couldn’t win. They are on a bit of a high right now, though. I think all the others we should win as long as we play with intensity. If we match this last game’s intensity then, sure, let’s have Real. But less intensity than that and I’d be a bit worried.

  18. Pingback: FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain: Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg Preview | barçacentral

  19. Pingback: Champions League Preview: AC Milan vs FC Barcelona | barçacentral

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