Barcelona v AC Milan Champions League 2013

Barcelona against AC Milan in the 2013 Uefa Champions League – Two of the most famous names in European football head back into battle each other, less than a year after meeting in the quarter finals of last season’s Champions League. After a 0-0 draw in Italy, two converted spot kicks helped Barcelona take a 3-1 win back at the Bernabeu to move through to the semi finals, where they ultimately lost out to eventual winners Chelsea. The re-meeting of the two sides in the quarter finals, came after two thrilling games in the group stage, where it was a familiar story of Milan pushing hard, but the Spaniards just having the edge. A late goal from Thiago Silva in stoppage time had earned Milan a draw at the Bernabeu, before Barcelona showed tremendous resilience in bouncing back from a two-goal deficit after twenty minutes gone to take a 3-1 win at the San Siro.

So now the two will meet again in the first knockout round of this season’s Champions League. It is somewhat of an early surprise, after favourites Milan had failed to capture top spot in Group C and only progressed as a runner up, losing out to Spanish side Malaga. Failure to win a home match in the group stage proved costly for them, putting them into the pot to draw one of the seeded teams for the knockout round. They drew perhaps the worst possible outcome as they landed favourites Barcelona, who topped their group ahead of Scottish champions Celtic, a side which inflicted the only defeat upon the Catalans in the group stage..

So there has been plenty of drama in recent meetings between the two sides. In total there have been 15 European clashes between the two sides and the head to head sits fairly tight. Out of the previous fifteen match ups there have been six wins for Barcelona and four for AC Milan, with six draws. In those matches, Barcelona have scored 22 goals in comparison to Milan’s 19. So really not too much to split them, but the current trend is definitely with the Spaniards, who have not lost to AC Milan in their last seven meetings now, winning five and drawing two.

Barcelona and AC Milan have met in three European Finals, the Milanese taking the biggest encounter, the 1993/94 Champions League final 4-0 against Barca. The other meeting was in the 1989 UEFA Super Cup, which produced a 1-1 draw in Barcelona and a 1-0 home win for Milan back at the San Siro.

With little surprise the major threat from Barcelona will be from Lionel Messi, the top scorer in four consecutive Champions League campaigns, who continues to break all kinds of records. Ahead of the round of sixteen Lionel Messi has a remarkable record of 56 goals in 74 Champions League appearances. Leading for the line this season for AC Milan has been the prodigious talent of Stephan El Shaarawy, the youngster having a tremendous season for the Rossoneri. Shaarawy scored his first Champions League goal for AC Milan in this season’s group stage, his strike against Zenit making him Milan’s youngest ever scorer in the tournament.

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