AC Milan 2 Barcelona 0: Forza Pompey! Former Premier League stars Boateng and Muntari strike with Messi off the pace
21:36 GMT, 20 February 2013
22:11 GMT, 20 February 2013
AC Milan took a surprise first-leg lead in their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona.
While Barca top the Primera Division by 12 points, Milan lie third in Serie A – but Kevin-Prince Boateng's controversial opening goal set the Italians on their way at the San Siro.
And Sulley Muntari's superb second put Massimiliano Allegri's side firmly in the driving seat ahead of March 12's return leg at the Nou Camp.
Here we go: Kevin-Prince Boateng, (left) celebrates after opening the scoring
Double trouble: Sulley Muntari celebrates after firing home the second goal
Muntari flashed an early shot over the bar from long range for Milan.
Philippe Mexes made a vital cleaance
at the other end to prevent Jordi Alba's cross reaching Pedro Rodriguez
and though the same defender then handled Dani Alves' delivery, Pedro
had already been flagged offside.
Stephane El Shaarawy's poor touch saw a
good chance slip away but resulted in a corner, taken by the prolific
young striker, from which Boateng shot just wide.
Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati
held Xavi's well-struck 30-yard drive and El Shaarawy tracked superbly
to the left-back position to break up another Barca attack.
Appeal: Barcelona wanted a free-kick for handball in the build up but Boateng did not care
Takeaway: Muntari's goal means Milan have a 2-0 lead to bring to the Nou Camp
Mexes collected the first yellow card
for tripping Lionel Messi and as Barca pressed, Riccardo Montolivo
prevented Pedro's backheel reaching Cesc Fabregas.
Boateng's cross eluded a sliding El Shaarawy before a goalless half petered out somewhat.
Sergio Busquets was booked early in
the second period after fouling Giampaolo Pazzini, moments before the
controversial opening goal.
Montolivo's shot took two deflections,
the second off the raised arm of Cristian Zapata, before Boateng fired
low past Victor Valdes. Gerard Pique was booked for protesting to
Scottish referee Craig Thomson.
Off the pace: Lionel Messi struggled to make any impact
Patched up: Carles Puyol was erratic as Barcelona struggled
Messi blazed an uncharacteristically
wayward free-kick high into the stand before Andres Iniesta almost
charged down Abbiati's clearance in the six-yard box.
Valdes saved Pazzini's acrobatic
volley but at the other end, Iniesta fizzed a drive a foot or so wide
and Xavi curled a free-kick just over.
Head to head: Cesc Fabregas, is fouled by Boateng
Ecstasy: Boateng celebrates after firing past Victor Valdes and in to the corner
Rolling around: Messi (left) and Daniel Alves (right) lie on the pitch
But it was Milan who found a second
goal with nine minutes remaining as substitute M'Baye Niang and El
Shaarawy combined to set up Muntari, who gave their beautiful approach
play the classy finish it deserved.
Carles Puyol, sporting a huge sticking
plaster on his forehead after a clash with Pazzini, headed Xavi's
corner wide as Barca sought an important away goal.
But it was in vain, with Milan in fact
having the best chance during five minutes of stoppage time as late
substitute Bakaye Traore wasted a three-on-two break.
Rough and tumble: The best player in the world could not help his side as they stumbled to a 2-0 defeat
That'll do: AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri looks on as his team put on a show
Fun night: Mario Balotelli smiles, next to his girlfriend, model Fanny Robert Neguesha