Barca shut out by Milan

PA Sport
Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi

AC Milan survived a prolonged Barcelona onslaught to hold their illustrious visitors to a goalless draw, but will be left wondering how they fluffed some golden chances to take a first-leg lead in their Champions League quarter-final.

A series of sublime Barca attacks produced no end product, while Milan had, but wasted, by far the better openings in the match.

The hosts managed to shut out Lionel Messi in red-hot form, though, to give themselves hope for the second leg at the Nou Camp.

Milan squandered their first opening in only the third minute. Space opened up for Kevin Prince-Boateng on the edge of the area, but he hesitated for a split-second and Gerard Pique charged down the shot.

The ball was then headed back in to give Robinho an even better chance unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, but he skied the ball horribly over the crossbar when it looked a certain goal.

Barca should have had a penalty when Alexis Sanchez fell over Christian Abbiati after beautiful play from Xavi and Sergio Busquets, but the Chilean perhaps went over too easily and was told to get up.

Barca were passing the ball about at speed and forcing passes through seemingly impossible gaps, but they continued to stutter and a first-time ball from Clarence Seedorf put Zlatan Ibrahimovic clean through, but goalkeeper Victor Valdez raced out to make a fine save at point-blank range.

Milan lost Robinho to an injury after the break but the Italians had another good opening in the 67th minute when Urby Emanuelson came on to be handed the chance of an instant impact, only to scuff his first touch when a long ball put him clean through.

Barca began to threaten again going into the final 15 minutes. Substitute Cristian Tello fired high into the side-netting from a tight angle and then Messi saw a shot charged down and deflected wide.

From the resulting corner, Carles Puyol's diving header across goal went narrowly wide. Their best chance of the half came right at the end when Messi stayed on his feet as Milan defenders fell about him, firing in a powerful shot which Abbiati could only parry across goal.

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