AC Milan – Barcelona: CL Quarter Final Liveblog 1.0

Not much to say today. Huge match.

 

Starting XI: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Keita, Sanchez, Messi, Iniesta

Bench: Pinto, Muniesa, Montoya, Thiago, Fabregas, Pedro, Tello,

Milan XI: Abbiati, Mexès, Nesta, Bonera, Antonini, Seedorf, Nocerino, Ambrosini, Boateng, Ibrahimović and Robinho

 

The liveblog will start 10 minutes before the match, which is at 2:45 EST

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225 Comments

  1. March 28, 2012

    – Early dinner? Check.

    – Bathroom before kickoff as so to not miss an early Pato goal (even though he’s not playing)? Soon.

    – Liveblog? Check.

    – Match on TV? Check.

    Let’s gooo

  2. Jafri
    March 28, 2012

    Big Match tonight. Cannot wait. Let’s do this, boys.

  3. Ryan
    March 28, 2012

    Seeing the highlights of the earlier group games, boy, was that Villa free kick a beauty.

    Hoping for a great game, especially with Alves in the lineup this time!

  4. March 28, 2012

    anyone else not seeing the coveritlive box?

    • Barcaleya
      March 28, 2012

      Me! Can’t see the arrow to get in.

  5. Laurentiu88
    March 28, 2012

    Viscaaaaaa BArcaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

  6. Manish
    March 28, 2012

    Mod.. please start..waiting waiting waiting..:D

  7. G6O
    March 28, 2012

    OK, this is the Champions League, the most expensive football tournament in the world. So why are the letting them do this – long grass, loose turf, players slipping and falling left and right, ball misbehaving….

    If one team is going to play around and in the box of the other, these things matter a lot

  8. Laurentiu88
    March 28, 2012

    UEFA has to start making rules for the quality of the pitch… wtf is that?!!?! should we expect potatoes field every time now? but what a poor game!!! i can’t imagine neutral people enjoying this ice skating…

    • G6O
      March 28, 2012

      Absolutely, and you can see players are really frustrated this time – Dani kicked the grass in anger when the ball tricked him after bouncing in an odd way and he lost it. The he slipped again. Messi slipped when taking the free kick. And there was probably half a dozen situations in which we had the ball in tight space around the box and lost it because it simply wasn’t possible to control it in these conditions.

      So again, why?

      • Laurentiu88
        March 28, 2012

        their field was not like that at the weekend…

        I guess to suit their game plan…the high balls delivered to Ibra…

  9. Huckleberry
    March 28, 2012

    What a shame for a club like Milan to deliberatly alter the pitch in a mud.

  10. TITO
    March 28, 2012

    Wasn’t expecting anything less that that awful pitch, it has always been like that, always.
    We are doing fine, just need to convert one of the chances that we create and gradually we got stable in the back. We are missing Adriano or Abidal for that matter on the left flank, but what a hell, they are missing some key players as well.
    I’m sure we will score in the second half.

  11. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Everybody is slipping out there today. Both sides. What the hell did Milan coat the pitch with? Chicken grease? Pig lard??

    The game screams for balls sent from deep out to Tello and for him to speed past everyone (along with Alexis on the other side). Beep! Beep!

    Give me Tello!!

    Keita out, Tello in, Iniesta to midfield. Bob’s your uncle. This ain’t rocket surgery.

    Let’s do this!

    Visca Barça!

  12. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Time to get Keita off the pitch already. He’s got a yellow now.

    C’mon Pep. Make the switch. What is this Keita obsession anyway?

  13. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Iniesta out and not Keita? Jesus Christ Pep?!?!

  14. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Mesbah!! I love that sub. Give us an own goal now …

  15. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Well … at least Puyol didn’t get booked …

    • Jafri
      March 28, 2012

      Not sure why you weren’t saying all this in the LB…

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        I thought that was the LB , God damn it.

        I really need to be more Internet savy, Jesus K. Christ!!

      • SteveHK
        March 29, 2012

        I think you mean Jesus H. Christ. That’s the guy usually used as an expletive. I have no idea who this Jesus K. guy is.
        Of course I may be showing my own ignorance; maybe the particular Jesus used as an expletive in country specific, and you are from a different country where Jesus K. is the proper Jesus name to use in profanity.

  16. Helge
    March 28, 2012

    One of the worst matches in football I have seen for a long time.

    Unfortunately, a scoreless draw is rather a bad result away from home. The return leg will be very tough and dangerous.

    But it seems like Pep was satisfied with the 0-0, otherwise I don’t understand his substitutions.

  17. lea_terzi
    March 28, 2012

    We were so obviously in “survive this without injuries and go for win at home” mode..
    It seems no one wants to be a gentleman where this team is concerned. It’s too good to fight fairly.

  18. Momo
    March 28, 2012

    Abysmal match…
    Complete waste of 90 minutes…

  19. March 28, 2012

    Can’t believe the collective threat of Xavi, Messi and Iniesta (him especially) was neutralized so easily. Pitch played its hand but we kinda had an off day at the office. I mean look at how many balls we lost or gave away there. Must be better at the Camp Nou..

    • Laurentiu88
      March 28, 2012

      how many times did all messi iniesta xavi miss-control so many balls or short passes? it was impossible to play any sort of combination there…

      add to this a very good packed milan

      maybe we needed a player of strength and speed a la Etoo..

      anyway, everything to play for!! and this time on a laser cut grass 🙂

  20. Laurentiu88
    March 28, 2012

    the image with referee watching Puyol being pulled at that corner spoke a thousand words…

  21. mega_tajh
    March 28, 2012

    IMO our team played for the draw. Is Cesc injuried btw?

  22. K_legit in Oz
    March 28, 2012

    I am just happy nobody from our team got injured on that minefield

  23. TITO
    March 28, 2012

    I’m not sure was it the pitch or something else but this was one of the worst games that Iniesta have played. Along him Keita, Xavi and Puyol, Messi and Alexis were so so.
    Pique was great along Dani.
    But Masch and Busi were absolute beasts. Glad that we got out of this without injuries, i was afraid of something like that due to the circumstances.

  24. Roberto Senyera
    March 28, 2012

    Very disappointed in Pep today I have to say. Great coach, no doubt. But he totally lost the plot today and didn’t live to FCB principles. Playing two holding mids for the entire game (yes, Keita is a holding, defensive, mid) against an average Milan team? Wtf Pep?!?! Are you spending nights out with Shakira? Too much respect shown to Milan. This isn’t the Milan with Gullit, van Basten, et al.

    Totally pissed at Pep today. Forget the state of the pitch which was appalling, Pep acted today like a Mourinho and not a true Barça coach. Keita plays ninety and the likes of superior footballers like Cesc and Thiago don’t get a minute? Jesus Christ Pep?!?!

    I am pissed right off. Scoring zero goals on the road in a two legged tie is not the way to go. And a lot of that comes down to Pep’s mentality and not the state of the pitch.

    One of the few times I’m really pissed at Pep.

    • jordi™
      March 28, 2012

      Its better than being naive and getting picked off on the counter like against inter and arsenal.If it had happened again today people would be in melt down mode.

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        Those are I-talian principles and not Barça’s. If we get bounced look to this game as the reason and Pep’s selections as the reason.

        Barça fears no one and no where. And this is a poor Milan side especially without Silva and van Bommel. Those are the Barça principles. If we go down, we go down on our own shield. Truly and totally disappointed in Pep today. Full stop.

      • jordi™
        March 28, 2012

        The problem is reducing the game to only the final result.Against Madrid, we didnt take many chances because we knew that they were trying to counter us.Individual brilliance saved that game from being a poor 0-0 to instead a good 0-2.If Afellay and Messi didnt do what they did would that mean the set up was bad? No we cant just look at the result.For me its clear that since we got destroyed at the san siro , the emphasis has changed to grab a gol if you can but more important dont lose by two .

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        Afellay a f*cling lie?!? Wtf are you talking about Nordic?

        Afellay is just starting to train with the group.

        Pep totally pooched the hooch!! Totally.

      • jordi™
        March 29, 2012

        🙄 Im talking about last your grumpy.

      • jordi™
        March 29, 2012

        last year* hence i said, in the cl, at the bernabeu.

    • HisR0yalFlyness
      March 28, 2012

      Agreed. Keita should have been off and Iniesta shifted to the middle. And by the half it was clear that play through the center was ineffective with AC defending with 2 banks of 4. More width was required way earlier, but the late subs are a regular thing with Pep. The impact was clear as soon as Tello and Pedro came on.

      All in all a wasted opportunity to gain an advantage going into the return leg. We are going to see more of the same ultra defensive play with them looking to capitalize on a set piece to go through.

      Hopefully we dont make the same mistakes in the return leg.

    • Momo
      March 28, 2012

      Overreaction much?
      It’s still AC freakin Milan, and a scoreless draw on their horrible pitch is the furthest thing from disastrous (which your post is making it out to be).

      I suggest you tone down your expectations, for your own health at least.
      I wonder how you felt during the 3-1 defeat to inter two years ago…

    • March 28, 2012

      Calm down man. 0-0 is a good result and Keita was crucial on the left in helping out Puyol. Cesc doesn’t have the discipline for that role. And Thiago’s not as physical.

      • nzm
        March 28, 2012

        Agreed. That’s why Keita was on the pitch, and not Thiago or Cesc.

    • mom4
      March 28, 2012

      Wait, Keita is a defensive mid? Then all those people complaining about Pep using him as one at the beginning of the season because he wasn’t one were wrong?

      • blitzen
        March 28, 2012

        Hahahahaha! ^This.

    • March 28, 2012

      Relax. 0-0 away from home in the CL is not a bad result. We are playing AC Milan, not some 3rd rate team. They completely gutted their pitch and they defended extremely well. You have to give them credit.

      The ref also played his part. We should have had two penalties, one on Sanchez and the other on Puyol, neither given, so Milan got lucky as well. Not sure what it is but referees just do not want to give us any penalties this season.

      We didnt get the away goal, but we didnt concede either. They were set up to hurt us on the counter and I actually think Pep was very smart to be a little cautious and not too gung-ho. It will be a very different story when they come to the Nou Camp on our big, slick pitch. Lets see them keep a clean sheet there.

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        All you ‘smart’ FC! BFB can say what you wish. Setting up defensively and not getting an away goal is not cool. And it’s certainly not Barça principles either. I’m probably older than most of you (probably been watching since most of you have been born). That is not Barça. Keita is not Cesc nor Thiago. I am a little ashamed we did not live to our principles today. I really am. An that’s down to one man — Pep.

        There is another leg though.

        Let a pissed off man be at peace, at least. Jesus Christ, am I the only blind man that sees this??

      • genesfut
        March 29, 2012

        as pointed out, the person who so interrupted their play high up the pitch was keita, get all pissed but at the right reason and person; sanchez. do yourself a favour and watch the game again

      • Peterj
        March 29, 2012

        What the heck is ur problem…are u the president or coach of the club?do u even know how the players felt last nite,yet u re typing like a spoilt child on ur computer!

    • Peterj
      March 29, 2012

      Wth are u…if u were that good,why aren’t u the coach of fcbarcelona?old man

  25. Humphrey Bogart
    March 28, 2012

    That was the ironic turnover of our season. The much dismissed defence was the best part of our game, midfield was terrible, forward line even worse. We could not pass to the next player, ball control not existing, just a terrible, terible performance from anybody not playing in the back 4

  26. March 28, 2012

    We’re in a much better position than they are, people take this away goals thing too far sometimes. A 0-0 draw away from home with the second leg at Camp Nou where the grass will be short and the passes slick…it’s a good position to be in.

    Put it this way, if we don’t go through, it’s because of what happened in the 2nd leg, not what happened today.

    The pitch was abysmal though. Someone (especially Iniesta or Alexis) could’ve gotten seriously injured.

  27. mom4
    March 28, 2012

    It’s 0-0. All we have to do is win a game at the camp Nou, on real grass. Geez, you’d think someone just killed Messi’s puppy for all the gloom here.

    • Humphrey Bogart
      March 28, 2012

      to be honest, Messi had this look on his face the whole game, that might actually be the case

  28. Dave
    March 28, 2012

    Anyone summarise the main points on Barca from Revista? Transfers etc

  29. mega_tajh
    March 28, 2012

    This was the kinda game I actually wanted to see Cuenca in. No goals conceded is what I believe Pep was aiming for. This is also the reason Keita was much more reserved today and hardly made runs forward or into the box. In all sad for the 0-0 but we can more than do it at home:

  30. March 28, 2012

    I actually thought Pep was very smart tonight being a bit more cautious. Milan are a very dangerous team on the counter attack, Arsenal will attest to that.

    When you take into account the state of the pitch and the fact that Milan have some of the most experienced defensive players in the game it was set up for them to counter attack. With a pitch like the one today you are bound to lose the ball, even with the likes of Messi and Iniesta. One touch, quick passing football is not possible so the key is to keep possession for as long as possible, try to create chances but not to be too risky. Defend well when called upon and not commit too many players forward. We could have played right into their hands tonight (like Arsenal did) but we didn’t. Our defense was very solid and they very rarely created any danger. On top of all of that they also got really lucky cos a ref doing his job properly would have given two pens tonight, but I dont think we should expect the referees to do their jobs properly anymore.

    • jordi™
      March 28, 2012

      It was a lot like the game at the Bernabeu last year.Only difference was Pepe got sent off and Afellay when he came on passed the ball to messi for the opening goal.In the reverse situation tello shot, but that is what inexperience does.

      • nzm
        March 28, 2012

        And wasn’t Messi furious at Tello? 😀

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        And nzm, Messi had no right to feel that way. It was Tello’s shot all along.

      • nzm
        March 29, 2012

        Actually, I disagree with that. Messi had a better chance of scoring than Tello did with a man inside him. He had to shoot with his left foot and really didn’t have the angle to the goal. Tello needs to do what Messi coached Cuenca about last week – look up and around to see the other opportunities.

  31. March 28, 2012

    Calm down people. Think of it as an equivalent of the armageddon rule in chess. We’ve got the home advantage, and need to win. They only need a scoring draw. Pretty even odds.

    But we go into every game with this mentality. I’m sure we’ll be fine. Look on the bright side – No injuries (yet)..

  32. Gogah
    March 28, 2012

    Is Milan gonna pull an Inter on us?

    • Ryan
      March 28, 2012

      We’d move to the semis with a 1-0 scoreline, so sure!

    • mom4
      March 28, 2012

      We left Inter down 3-1.

    • Gogah
      March 28, 2012

      Duh. I am aware of the score.
      Just seeing Milan defend like that, so tight and so narrow and with the uncalled penalties, just feel like a Deja Vu sort of a situation.
      Or maybe I’m just Paranoid.
      Obviously we have many things to look forward to in the 2nd leg, Just a Villa free kick is not one of them. I maybe spoiled, but i don’t feel so good.

  33. Kimcelona
    March 28, 2012

    I’m pretty disappointed. I really love the people who are positive but for me a 0-0 draw away is far too dangerous. My mind goes back to the infamous Chels-Barca game in 08/09.
    We were unlucky here it seems..who’s to say we wont be unlucky not to score next week either or we have an off day infront of goal or we dont score enough…and they manage a score draw. There is always the danger of away goals. Milan played a smart game in my opinion and they are NOT average but with our fire power and midfield I expected at least 1 away goal.
    The game overall seemed a let down based on what I’m seeing.
    Now I’m gonna be in a pissy mood for the next 3 days..

    Anywho, on to Bilbao!

    • Humphrey Bogart
      March 28, 2012

      agree the tie is now firmly in Milans hands, I can not see how we will be able to score, we are so off without Messi, and he has gone off the boil

      • mom4
        March 28, 2012

        No, the tie is in our hands. We win, by any score and we advance.. Barca winning at Camp Nou…it’s not unheard of ya know.

      • Peterj
        March 29, 2012

        Where the heck were u when he was scoring hat-tricks 4 fun?…now he’s gone off d boil after one bad match…do u even watch barça games that well?

      • Helge
        March 29, 2012

        That has to be ironic, your sentence about Messi, right?

    • March 28, 2012

      Like you said they got lucky today, if they get lucky when they come to the Nou Camp then they get lucky. That is the nature of the game. We got lucky in 08/09 vs Chelsea. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesnt. That being said we will create a lot more at the Nou Camp so they will have to get a lot luckier than they did tonight. Our home form this season has been spectacular and Messi is pretty much unstoppable on his own pitch. They might have been able to JUST about keep a clean sheet on their own dry, gutted, bobbly pitch but I doubt they can do it on ours.

      Anyways, like Pep said; that a team like Milan, with its history and quality, would celebrate a 0-0 draw at home speaks volumes.

      Btw if we get past Milan dont expect Chelsea to be any easier. I actually expect them to be a lot tougher. They will also make sure their pitch is awful and they will defend with hunger and aggression.

      • messifan
        March 28, 2012

        I haven’t seen the game yet. But there are a lot of complaints about that pitch. According to Gab Marcotti, who was on Press Pass a few weeks ago, the San Siro is a fairly enclosed stadium with little air and sunlight. It’s also difficult to maintain a perfect pitch with two teams sharing a stadium. The pitch perhaps had an effect on our game but I don’t think Milan intentionally ruined the pitch for this match.

        A 0-0 result is not ideal but we’ve been in this kind of situation before, so no need to panic yet. I might have more to say after I watch the replay. Anyway, let’s focus on Athletic.

      • josesoegaard
        March 28, 2012

        watch the match. it was almost as messy as the pitch at san mames this fall in the pouring, pouring rain.

      • Roberto Senyera
        March 28, 2012

        Sorry. If you believe Milan didn’t intentionally doctor the pitch then you must believe in aliens. Full stop.

      • mega_tajh
        March 28, 2012

        I watched the AcMilan vs Roma game Saturday gone and the pitch was in tip top condition, watered and green as ever. Not like what we sawed today. Today was dry and lumpy at parts, with what seemed like silt at other parts.

      • Kimcelona
        March 28, 2012

        I didnt say they got lucky I said we were unlucky. I actually think they played a smart, disciplined game. I have always been weary of Milan while others had written them off as average so I agree with Pep but I am still uneasy over a 0-0 away from home because of the away goals rule. I reallllllly wanted us to get a goal.

        And yeah, I agree about the Chelsea thing. I hate that team. I think they possibly are our bogey team other than Rubin Kazan (lol!). We’ve played them quite alot over the years..THAT worries me. But lets cross that hurdle..if we get there.

    • Ryan
      March 28, 2012

      Our home record is pretty nuts, we’ve only got 2 draws and the rest wins out of all competitions this year at home. This is still ours to lose.

  34. K_legit in Oz
    March 28, 2012

    Pep’s laying down some truth in the presser

  35. K_legit in Oz
    March 28, 2012

    Also Pep’s pretty poor record away in the CL knockouts continues..what is it only 1 win and the rest all draws/defeats?

    • Kimcelona
      March 28, 2012

      Um no. Last season we had two wins in the knock-out stages against Shahktar and EE.

      • mom4
        March 28, 2012

        Yes, but we had cules ready to jump off bridges after we lost 2-1 at the Emirates. Darn, but I hate typing on a Droid.

    • Ryan
      March 28, 2012

      Didn’t we win all our away CL matches this season? If memory recalls, Villa was getting lots of away goals.

      • mom4
        March 28, 2012

        Ahhhh Villa…miss him.

      • March 28, 2012

        Yes, but overall Pep Guardiola’s away game record at UCL knockout stage is not that good. Only two victories, against Shakhtar (it’s game over for them at that time) and Madrid (Messi scored after Pep got sent off).

        So 0-0 at San Siro? Not great, but definitely not the worst result for Barcelona.

      • March 28, 2012

        *I mean after Pepe got sent off, of course. Duh! 😛

      • Ryan
        March 29, 2012

        Yes, overall his away knockout CL performance isn’t that impressive, but we’ve seen a great many home games(and CL finals) where the team is just a powerhouse. I don’t understand the gloom and doom, especially when you compare it to the Inter and Arsenal first leg losses.

  36. lyd
    March 28, 2012

    Lots of free kick attempts, shots outside the box, some good chances. Not our best performance by a long margin but elements of luck could have resulted in a goal but did not happen. No need to panic yet. In the 2nd leg, very few is gonna bet against Barca to grab a win, so chill!

    I actually enjoyed some phases in the match. Enjoyed Messi as usual. Today he played deeper and more like a classic 10 (like the previous clasico). Its really a pleasure seeing him taking on somebody like Nesta. Felt Pedro did well after he came on. Credits to Pique (who kept Ibra on hold) and the defense for having kept their concentration. Busi was amazing too.

    Credit to Milan as well for doing their thing. They kept it narrow and crowded. Parked the buses but kept the engines on. They were not ugly one must admit, like those other white buses. Seedorf i thought played exceptionally well (given his age) and kept his cool.

    No injuries today. Yay! Lets entertain Bilbao now and get into a sizzling run of form.

  37. lyd
    March 28, 2012

    I would not criticize the ref or the pitch.
    The Alexis penalty was ruled out because he took a unnecessary, heavy touch. There was no way to get to the ball, even without the keeper as obstacle. Btw Pedro wasn’t caution for handball so must appreciate the ref here. The pitch was awful. Yes. But predictably awful. We cant complain about pitches anymore. When smaller teams (with due respect!) do it, its because of the economic crisis. When the rest do it, its for tactical advantage. To minimize Barca’s strength seems to be the main priority. That should speak volumes of how awesome and intimidating Pep’s team is!

    • josesoegaard
      March 28, 2012

      As a tactical move, it is the prerogative of the home team to manage the pitch as they see fit. However, while I think it’s perfectly acceptable to grow the grass long so that balls played on the ground travel slowly, the pitch today was slippery and potentially dangerous. If Iniesta, Messi, or anyone else had suffered a season-ending injury, the state of the pitch would have been to blame. It was a real possibility, and that is unacceptable.

      • josesoegaard
        March 28, 2012

        That is to say, we shouldn’t “blame” the pitch for the draw, but we should be willing to criticize the club for the poor condition of its pitch.

      • lyd
        March 28, 2012

        Totally with you on this.

    • K_legit in Oz
      March 28, 2012

      Hmm ok but what about the shirt tug on Puyol?

      • lyd
        March 28, 2012

        Puyi still had a decent glancing header. Without the tug, do u honestly think it was a sure shot goal?
        I thought the situation with Messi, when he juggled with his head and got through two defenders and then brought down, was more likely a candidate for a penalty kick.

    • G6O
      March 28, 2012

      The Alexis penalty looked like a dive to me – his legs were in an unnaturally straight position, exactly like what one would so when he deliberately trips himself in the keeper. But the Puyol one was 100% and happened right in front of the referee’s eyes – you could see that’s where he was looking all the time, didn’t give it.

      Anyway, we know this team plays much much better at home so I am confident we will make it to the semis with a convincing display on Tuesday. Meanwhile we have to beat B1lbao

      • lyd
        March 28, 2012

        Not a dive really. Previously off-balanced, he just takes a heavier touch (In an ideal world, keeper gets a yellow and Barca earns a corner). Alexis should work on close control.

        And for Puyol one, the ref looked through the eyes of Graham Hunter, it seems. But Puyol was amazing with his effort, like a bull fighter. Would love to see that in slow-mo!

  38. March 28, 2012

    Milan is thrilled with their 0-0, as any draw in our house assures them of going through.

    We were tactically inept at times, Tello created more chances in his brief stint than Sanchez did for his time on the pitch, and Mascherano was comprehensively boss. Keep Iniesta away from the wing like, oh, forever, and get Messi some No-Doz.

    Despite all of that, this match still should have been salted away. We were wasteful of some excellent chances, and that isn’t any ref’s fault. Too much dithering on the ball, too much playing right into the strength of the defense that Milan had set up — in the middle. Every time wing play was utilized, good things happened. And yet, the center-right mania persisted. I know that’s where Messi and Alves are, but at some point this club has to realize, in times of pressure, that there is a left side of the pitch.

    Adriano would have made this a very different match. Or an earlier insertion of Tello.

    Either way, I feel pretty good about our chances with an awake, alert Messi, Adriano being back and not playing on a cow pasture.

    • lyd
      March 28, 2012

      “but at some point this club has to realize, in times of pressure, that there is a left side of the pitch.”

      – my thoughts too. Make the field big, drag everybody on the left and release the ball like a cannon, on the right!
      It was a suitable lineup to play a left centered game. Especially in the early 2nd half.

      • mega_tajh
        March 28, 2012

        And I was wondering why didn’t Alexis and Iniesta switch/swap?

        With Alexis on the left he can stretch the field and with Iniesta on the right he can cut in more centrally in midfield since Alves is basically pushing up as a right winger.

        Ps. I miss Villa, he always shows up in the big games, not to mention his sheer presence on the left.

        For example time and time again Messi had the ball near the box surrounded with 4-5 Milan players looking for a left runner but to no avail. All he saw was Keita who was playing a more reserved role than his usual bomb the box.

        Usually we had Abidal/Adriano making that run, or even an open winger but not this game, this is where we should criticize Pep and his late subs.

      • Ryan
        March 29, 2012

        Or perhaps criticize the selling of Maxwell, if the club really knew about Abidal’s condition. We have no healthy first-team left backs for the second year in a row!

  39. The__K__Man
    March 28, 2012

    I would like to make 2 things clear:

    1. For f*ck’s sake calm down people. Since when is drawing against an Italian champion on their home turf a bad result? Thank god I wasn’t around the blog when we left the same pitch 2 years ago with a 3-1 defeat. I am sure I would have killed myself reading the comments back then.

    2. Did anyone of our coaches or players even care to watch a Milan game before? Do they even know how bad Daniele Bonera is? The guy is a disaster waiting to happen. Instead of Sanchez or anyone using this side and taking advantage of him we kept foolishly playing on Alves’ well protected side. When Tello came in, Allegri felt the problem and switched Bonera with Antonini immediately. Damn it I was so excited once I knew he was playing!

    • Roberto Senyera
      March 28, 2012

      A very weak I-talian Champion btw and without Thiago Silva and van Bommel. I say, unacceptable.

      We should have ripped them a new one.

      That, my BFBers, is the true Barça way. Everyone else is a Mourinho deciple. And you should worship elsewhere as far as I’m concerned. Attack, attack, attack!!! Those are our principles!!!

      Everyone else, take a rest. And, you disappoint me btw (including Pep).

      • SteveHK
        March 29, 2012

        Roberto you are like a Barcelona Ultra Sur! Or the Barcelona Spanish Inquisition!
        I think you just called Pep a Mourinho disciple?!
        I can’t really imagine anyone with a better understanding of the Barca way and it’s principles than Pep, but I’m sure that’s one reason I wouldn’t be allowed to worship at your church.

      • Peterj
        March 29, 2012

        With all due respect,u re a joke…are u professional coach or player? and did u invented the barca style u re shouting on and on about?..ps:if u were a better coach,u would be the one coaching fcbarcelona

      • blitzen
        March 29, 2012

        Roberto, you seriously need to take a step back. Everyone else, too. Insulting fellow members of this community is not acceptable. Stop it now.

  40. March 28, 2012

    Some absolutely unbelievable comments on here, like it’s Milan’s tie to lose (it isn’t), that Messi has gone off the boil (he hasn’t), that the Alexis play wasn’t a penalty (it was) etc etc. Barca fans really living up to the pessimistic woe-is-us stereotype tonight.

  41. lyd
    March 28, 2012

    Why did Pep start Keita and Busi together? Its because he had well defined, quality reasons to do so.

    I for one, before the match, advocated resting Xaviesta to play Thiago+Cesc instead. (Call me stupid!) Thiago, i felt, automatically had a place due to his suspension and Cesc, in spite of his poor ball holding skills and form, had a role to play tonight with his special spatial awareness. Cesc would have taken the burden off Alexis in stretching the CB’s and thus Messi could have had more space to work with. But the trade off in playing Cesc was the potential loss of composure in midfield with dictating tempo and what not. On the hindsight (Milans approach+Pitch), it was perhaps best to play Thiago or Cesc, if not both.

    Having seen the starting lineup, it didn feel defensive at all. Thought the idea was to work on making frequent dynamical triangles with Busi, Keita and Xaviesta resulting in more creative and composed ball circulation for long duration in midfield and with Alexis stretching the CB’s, the stage was set to release Messi on his outrageous runs or to relieve pressure by passing to Alvez. But the stage was slippery and that caused us to play below par game.

    The attack buildup was more right-centered for my liking and the state of the pitch forced us to play a cautious game to avoid injuries. Alexis was not at his best and Iniesta and Keita had some confusions with their positioning at times. Having said all that, we were still more than capable to pull a winner in any stage of the match.

    These are good times in a way. When you have an off day but end up to dominate possession, make the other team sit deep the entire match.

    • Ryan
      March 28, 2012

      Thiago had a yellow card revoked, so he’s not suspended. 🙂

      • lyd
        March 28, 2012

        Great! He might have a good role to play against Bilbao.

  42. Kimcelona
    March 28, 2012

    I dont understand. We can’t point out ref mistakes in a match anymore? This is not to say the ref was against us or that somehow he was horrible..its just that we could have had two penalties. Simples.

    This ref thing is being blown waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion and I think its mainly because people are looking at it from two EXTREMES. Pointing out obvious calls doesnt mean I’m saying there’s some kinda conspiracy. A ref’s job isnt easy but like any one on the job they are gonna be criticised for f*cking up. Yeesh, man. And I’m also tired of hearing that I dont have a right to talk about a missed call because we had calls go in our favor. Then by that logic NO team should talk about missed calls, ever.

    I would think I can point calls out and still think we didnt get the result because of us and not be labelled as a complainer or a conspiracist !

    Sorry thats my rant for the day.

    With that said, I watched the game and well…will someone please take Don Andres to shooting practice and tell Alexis to stop stuttering infront of goal, youre doing too much dude..just shoot!
    And the left wing might as well have “cobwebs” etched in on the team sheet starting IX..play over there is non-existent. Pitch was horrible but it is what it is.

    On the positive side, we actually didnt play as bad as I thought (upon actually watching the whole match for myself). Defense was solid! gasp! They only had two clear cut chances, IMO and VV was there to stop them. Masche was immense and is fast becoming my lover.

    • lyd
      March 28, 2012

      “We can’t point out ref mistakes in a match anymore? This is not to say the ref was against us or that somehow he was horrible..its just that we could have had two penalties. Simples.”

      – Yes. On some other day with some other ref, or in some other parallel universe, we’d get two penalties and Messi would miss one. And Robinho scores on the volley, Ibra scores on that pass from Seedorf. Whats the point really in complaining? Isn it better to point out the areas in which we could have played better?

      • Kimcelona
        March 28, 2012

        “Isn it better to point out the areas in which we could have played better?”
        ————————
        I did. I guess you didnt read my whole post.

        I am not even complaining, I’m pointing out some calls we should have gotten. Its like you missed the whole point of my post…

      • lyd
        March 28, 2012

        My last question actually referred to your post-rant statements. I appreciated the latter half of your post.
        And the questions were rhetoric tbh.

        Its more like you missed the whole point of your own post! jk hehe
        No.. its more like your post had too many points..
        kidding again 😛

  43. Xavi6
    March 28, 2012

    That is what I think
    Iniesta really needs to improve his finishing. Usually , he gets decent shots to score and he usually fails too.
    It’s an awful idea to play Iniesta as a left winger ,we miss him badly in midfield where he can combine with Xavi and Messi.
    We really need an experienced LW who can score , as Euler noticed ; teams playing against Barca usually concede space on left. add to that Messi aside , we don’t have a relibale goalscorer.
    The team was not sharp today , we should have buried this mediocre AC Milan side , sadly we did not . Yet , a draw at San Siro is never a bad result , though we could have done better.
    Mascherano was a beast today , hats off.
    What do you think about Pique’s performance today ?

    • bhed
      March 28, 2012

      Pique was near perfect, and I’ve been critical lately. Biggest letdown for me was Iniesta – don’t know if it was playing wing or just a bad form day. Would have liked to have seen Tello sooner, or even even Thiago.

      If our defense can maintain this level, I feel very hopeful going forward.

  44. March 28, 2012

    Stats are coming out. About 20% of our play was to the left. Bulk of it was in the canter. We basically helped Milan defend with the way we attacked.

  45. BarcaOwl
    March 28, 2012

    They didn’t score, so that’s good. The boys will just have to kick things up several notches at Camp Nou if they want to get to the next round.

    • mega_tajh
      March 28, 2012

      They didn’t score but so didn’t we. Yes we drew like in past away legs, but the problem now is that everything is open, without that away goal we are used to.

      A Clean sheet at home for us is important as scoring, so we need to be dominating but careful also.

      Only good thing now is that Milan will properly come out and attack more this time around.

      • BarcaOwl
        March 29, 2012

        I don’t go around bursting your bubbles, so I’ll thank you not to burst mine.

      • Ryan
        March 29, 2012

        Milan said they were going to come out and attack last game, but that didn’t turn out to be case. I imagine they’ll go with the same game plan and hope to score on the counter. But this time we’ll have an actual playable pitch and hopefully a left back to make things easier for our style of play.

  46. sebanovic
    March 28, 2012

    Some chalkboards I made with ZonalMarking’s app:

    Xavi played a more advanced role than usual, compared here to the game against Leverkusen at the Camp Nou (first halves only)
    http://fourfourtwo.com/statszone/share.aspx?i=065yH

    Keita had a solid match
    http://fourfourtwo.com/statszone/share.aspx?i=06fLG

    You wouldn’t have guessed Iniesta was playing LW from his chalkboard:
    http://fourfourtwo.com/statszone/share.aspx?i=06fMG

    Milan formed a solid defensive wall just outside their box:
    http://fourfourtwo.com/statszone/share.aspx?i=06BfD

    Barca completed 19/20 tackles, Milan 15/20. Surprising, no?
    http://fourfourtwo.com/statszone/share.aspx?i=06G9G

    • ooga aga
      March 29, 2012

      i like the idea of your creating these graphs to tell the story of the match…but they need a legend so we can interpret them.

  47. cliveee
    March 28, 2012

    My thoughts are much like what KevWill and Footballmood mentioned on the Twittersphere: right players, wrong/inefficient usage. But to say Pep disappointed us is just too far.

    Re:Double DM
    This match shows us the tactical side of Pep rather than the usual idealistic, total-footballing, all-out-attacking Pep Guardiola. Because he has to be a very practical coach after all to win us all these titles.

    Player practiced on the potato field. Pep, with all his experiences, also knew about the condition of the pitch and the effects it would bring to the team (or both teams). Playing Keita and Busquets ensures enough workforce in the midfield because Pep knew the passing wouldn’t be pretty in this match. Recall his reactions on the sideline, he was so calm even bad passes and touches were everywhere. He just knew. That’s why Keita and Busquets were totally necessary. and Milan had nothing to lose, that’s why Seedorf played his 150% fitness and the rest of the team were also fearless in tackling. If we played Busi alone, he’d be very vulnerable. As you see Messi, Iniesta and Xavi also uncharacteristically gave away possessions, Busi would have to be at his top none-shall-pass form to keep Milan from counter attacking. But given the pitch condition, it’s better to reduce the workload.

    Milan, like all Italian teams, are famous for defending deep. If Robin-yo put that volley of his away and gave Milan the lead in the first half, we will have a very tough lock to break. Like some mentioned above, sometimes luck goes the other way. But I don’t think we are down to luck to rescue us yet.

    Keita wasn’t properly used tonight. So were Alexis and Iniesta. Also, I got a feeling that players were trying to be protective of themselves, that’s why the running were so little and the movement were so lacking. Earlier introduction of Tello and Pedro would make a difference.

    To some of you, don’t underestimate your coach, he knows better than us. He also has to work on a matchday schedule. It has become more clear to me that the Liga is still on Pep’s mind. That could explain the possible protective instructions to players tonight. As Bilbao is up next.

    • Peterj
      March 29, 2012

      WORD

    • Emeka
      March 29, 2012

      Took it right out of my mouth!

  48. cliveee
    March 28, 2012

    By the way, I think the 0-0 draw was the right result. We never had the upperhand in the entire 90 minutes. They also screwed up the poach in front of our goal a couple of times.

    Yet, my personal feeling tells me that it was one of the most boring games that has Barca in memory.

    • mega_tajh
      March 28, 2012

      I wouldn’t say boring, just cautious very cautious, for risk of injury on that pitch and trying not to concede.

      For example I saw alot of un-Barca like clearance up the field instead of trying to play the ball out from defense as we usually do. This has to be Pep’s orders or he would’ve fixed it by the 2nd half.

      On other Note: The urgency from our defense was a sight to see, not to mention how Mash and Pique kept Ibra in check all throughout the game really. Pique performance especially sunk in, seems he is getting back into form at the right time.

      • cliveee
        March 28, 2012

        yea, in fact, i should correct myself, i was actually referring only to the second half. The first half was a delight. Air vs ground.

  49. pr17
    March 28, 2012

    Terribly terribly disappointed. Not with the result but more with the conservatism. I actually wasnt this pissed with 2-1 loss at arsenal last season.
    Pep betrayed FCB principles in some way by playing 2 DMs (keita has 1 assist this season). We looked like spain in WC2010. Messi somehow didnt thought he should compensate for the missing playmaker in middle and came to MF quite often.
    Iniesta on left is a waste of talent.
    Terrible off the ball movement today due to lack of people up front with messi being in midfield, and iniesta fearful of run into alien penalty territory.
    We need alexis to be shunted out on right when teams park bus and not in the middle. He is a good no 9 against teams that press high or dont crowd centre.
    I am missing my MVP attack of last season. Villa is a villa – his off the ball movement is superb and he always gets into 2-3 scoring positions per match.
    I have said enough about keita. keita per se is a good squad player but keita never ever deserves to start. when he starts we play players in sub optimal positions (Busi as centre back in first few matches of season) and now iniesta on wings. Sometimes i wonder why dont we sell keita and groom Sergi roberto or maybe recall oriol romeu.
    Just hope we are able to get some fire in our belly vs athletic and milan in second leg.

    • March 28, 2012

      There were a great many players who played worse than Keita, who was a midfield workhorse and the perfect antidote for their physicality. He even began making runs into the box that were ignored.

      Meanwhile, Messi mostly sleepwalked, Sanchez had the yips in front of goal when he wasn’t completely neutralized, Iniesta looked like he was scared, Xavi was keeping the ball too much because our offense was so stationary.

      And Keita was your biggest problem? Guardiola is a sufficient judge of talent where if Romeu was better than Keita, he would be in the colors, and Keita would be at Chelsea or somewhere else. Romeu isn’t even starting for Chelsea, and they aren’t a team of anything approaching our quality. So what makes anyone think Romeu is ready to play for us? If he were, we would have brought him back.

      As for Sergi Roberto, he is at least a year away from even being considered for spot duty, much less starting in a Champions League quarterfinal match.

      If you watch what Milan were trying to do, Keita and Busquets were the perfect antidote. Without them, Xavi would have been even more overwhelmed. He will be important again when Van Bommel returns for them.

      One thing I have learned with Guardiola is that there really are no “FCB principles.” He plays the lineup that he thinks will get the job done. And had the finishing not been crap, it would have gotten the job done. And that isn’t Keita’s fault, as near as I can discern from having watched the match.

      The much larger problem is Messidependencia. It forces play into the teeth of a massed defense, because of the lack of a viable attacking threat from the left. Pedro? Guardiola didn’t choose him, and there’s usually a reason. And it isn’t as if his form has been sterling. And that’s about it. Villa knocked, Afellay still not match fit. Could Guardiola have moved Sanchez? Possibly. But for whatever reason, that didn’t happen. So it’s 0-0, and I have confidence that we will get it done at home.

      • pr17
        March 29, 2012

        well i made other points which were more imp than keita.
        In order of magnitude IMHO, some things that didnt work today were
        a)Lack of wingers / forwards in this game apart from alexis (we typically have 3)
        b) finishing and hunger (being content with 0-0 isnt FCB)
        c) Pressing
        d) Keita – not his performance but what his inclusion means (messi dropping into MF and iniesta on wing).

        On d Zonal marking makes a point on this and i quote.
        “Of course, Milan are a side based around strength and steel in the centre of the pitch and Guardiola was guilty of over-compensating for this. The selection of Keita was an indication that he wanted to compete in this respect, but Barca would have been better off playing to their strengths with Andres Iniesta in the centre of midfield, and a true wide midfielder on the left.

        Iniesta doesn’t like playing in the front three and his narrowness made Barca too predictable, always going down the centre and right, while Xavi had a good game but is more comfortable as the second function midfielder (ie between Busquets and Iniesta from bottom to top) than in a more advanced role. He received the ball too often with his back to goal, and couldn’t see the pitch ahead of him. Keita, the man this debate revolves around, did little wrong personally.”

        Hope Pep corrects all these in second leg. I admire keita as a man and the way his performance has improved as DM over the season (i dont get miffed now seeing him in DM, he is almost 80-90% of busi’s performance levels).

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