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Milan and Barcelona convene for summit meeting

Published: Tuesday 22 November 2011, 20.55CET
Josep Guardiola was happy to "breathe in the air of tradition and history" at San Siro but reverence will be superseded when FC Barcelona face AC Milan for Group H first place.
by Alessandro Massimo
from Milan
Milan and Barcelona convene for summit meeting
Josep Guardiola at Tuesday's press conference at San Siro ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 22 November 2011, 20.55CET

Milan and Barcelona convene for summit meeting

Josep Guardiola was happy to "breathe in the air of tradition and history" at San Siro but reverence will be superseded when FC Barcelona face AC Milan for Group H first place.

AC Milan snatched a 2-2 draw at FC Barcelona on matchday one, but as the sides battle for top spot in UEFA Europa League Group H, Massimiliano Allegri is demanding even more focus from his side at home than they showed at Camp Nou. Both are already through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 and the visitors, wary of former player Zlatan Ibrahimović, will advance as section winners if they win on Wednesday.

Milan
Coach Massimiliano Allegri

It will be a great challenge, and we'll do our best to win. We have to play a fantastic game, with great intensity and focus, especially in defence — perhaps even more than the previous meeting at Camp Nou. Every player, the strikers too, will have to help out in defence, to press them when they get the ball.

The first game against Barcelona was unusual because we scored after a few seconds; we had more chances than them in the first 20 minutes. They had a lot of the ball and this is their most important weapon.

Zlatan Ibrahimović is really quiet and clear. He's as motivated as the rest of his team-mates. We need to be very confident, and play with respect but not fear. If we win against Barcelona, we can take a lot of satisfaction and confidence.

Weekend result
Saturday: ACF Fiorentina 0-0 Milan
Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Aquilani, Ambrosini, Nocerino, Seedorf (Emanuelson 73); Ibrahimović, Robinho (Pato 70)

• Milan failed to score for only the second time this season having previously failed to do so in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Juventus on 2 October.

Team news
Pato (thigh) is available ("this is crucial for our squad," said Allegri), having come on as a substitute against Fiorentina but Antonio Cassano, Gennaro Gattuso, Philippe Mexès, Mathieu Flamini and Clarence Seedorf are all sidelined.

Barcelona
Coach Josep Guardiola

We will have to play a perfect game if we want to win. Milan are a very strong team, great on the counterattack. They have Pato, who is very fast, and Ibrahimović at centre-forward is fantastic. Ibrahimović helped us a lot when he was at Barcelona [in 2009/10]. He's a formidable player, who has done important things for Italian football and continues to play well. If we meet I'll greet him.

Our aim is to win the match, not to draw. When you play here in Milan you breathe in the air of tradition and history. It's a privilege and an honour to play against a prestigious team like AC Milan. I'm very lucky to be the coach of another great side in Barcelona.

Saturday: Barcelona 4-0 Real Zaragoza (Piqué 18, Messi 43, Puyol 54, Villa 75)
Valdés; Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Maxwell; Fàbregas (Villa 67), Xavi (Alcántara 56), Keita, Cuenca; Messi, Alexis Sánchez (Iniesta 56)

• Lionel Messi took his tally to nine in six games for club and country with the second goal against Zaragoza. Carles Puyol had not scored since 16 October 2010 prior to Saturday.

Team news
Daniel Alves is suspended after picking up three yellow cards over the first four games. Andrés Iniesta (thigh), Adriano (hamstring) and Ibrahim Afellay (knee) are out but Pedro Rodríguez has resumed training after suffering an ankle injury against Granada CF on 25 October.

Match fact
Milan's last victory against Barcelona came on 20 October 2004 in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Andriy Shevchenko scoring the only goal. Seedorf and Gattuso were on the winning side with Xavi Hernández, Iniesta, Puyol and Víctor Valdés lining up for the Blaugrana.

Last updated: 22/10/13 9.22CET

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