Lionel Messi cancelled out Robinho’s early goal to give Barcelona a 1-1 draw with Milan at San Siro this evening.
Messi was back in the starting XI after missing the last few weeks with injury, playing up front alongside Neymar and Alexis Sanchez. Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves also came back into the team after being rested against Osasuna at the weekend.
It was the Rossoneri though, who got off to the brighter start – winning a corner within the first two minutes, but there early chance at opening the scoring came to nothing.
They did get the ball in the net however on six minutes, but Sulley Muntari was adjudged to be offside following Robinho’s through ball.
Just two minutes later though, the Italian side did score a legitimate goal. Kaka played in his fellow Brazilian, and the former Manchester City forward got the better of Gerard Pique and blasted past Victor Valdes.
The Blaugrana were shell-shocked after a nervous start, but slowly started to get back in the game. Some nice one touch play around the edge of the area was creating a few half chances for Tata Martino’s side, but nothing that goalkeeper Marco Amelia couldn’t handle.
Midway through the half however, that all changed when Andres Iniesta nicked the ball of Cristian Zapata, slotted it into the path of Messi, who then calmly glided his shot past the keeper and into the back of the net.
Philippe Mexes had a superb chance soon after – only to head wide from a corner. But the Catalan club got back into their usual groove in matches – keeping the ball well and carving open opportunities.
Alexis Sanchez and Neymar both went close to bagging a second for Barca, but they had to be content to go into the break level.
The second half began as the first had ended with the away side in the ascendency. The Blaugrana were having over 65 per cent of possession, but despite their monopoly of the ball, they were almost caught out early on by Robinho.
A superb counter-attack saw Muntari find the forward all alone inside the area, but the Brazil international over-stretched and watched as the ball went between his legs and out.
The possession kept on coming for Martino’s team, but the Diavolo wall was holding solid. Adriano was the one though who came closest to breaking down that resistance on 70 minutes, but his close-range effort was skewed, agonisingly, wide.
Barcelona kept up the late pressure, but just couldn’t find that opening and had to be content with a draw in Lombardy.
Milan 1-1 Barcelona
Scorers: Robinho 9 (M); Messi 24 (B)
Milan: Amelia; Mexès, Zapata, Abate, Constant; Muntari, De Jong, Montolivo; Birsa (Poli 80), Robinho (Balotelli 65), Kaká (Emanuelson 71)
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis (Cesc 74), Messi, Neymar (Pedro 81)