AC Milan striker Alberto Gilardino bemoaned bad luck last night as his scoreless run in the UEFA Champions League continued against FC Barcelona at the San Siro. The 23-year-old hit the post in the 14th minute and is still searching for his first UEFA Champions League goal in nine matches as Ludovic Giuly's second half-strike earned Barcelona a 1-0 first-leg victory.
"I would like to have a bit more luck at the moment but I don't want to use it as an excuse. We created lots of chances but they were better than us because they scored," Gilardino said. "Still, I think we have a chance to qualify because they gave us space that we will have to exploit better in the return leg. We are sad at losing such a great game in front of our home fans but now we must go to the Camp Nou to qualify."
A Ronaldinho-inspired second-half revival made the Rossoneri pay for squandered chances but Carlo Ancelotti's men are confident of turning the tie in Spain a week today. Three-times European Champion Clubs' Cup winner Clarence Seedorf regretted his side's failure to capitalise on their first-half dominance, which saw Andriy Shevchenko's close-range header blocked by Víctor Valdés as well as Gilardino's shot strike the post.
"We had several chances to score but unfortunately we missed them," Seedorf said. "I still think we can qualify, though, because we clearly deserved to win. We could have played a bit better after their goal when we gave them a few chances to double their lead on the counterattack. However, we controlled the game for an hour until they punished our first mistake."
Following Giuly's match winner, Milan had two opportunities to equalise in the second half after Kaká set up Massimo Ambrosini with a clever through-ball and then tried a shot himself late in the match, but fortune was not on the Brazilian's side. "They had one chance to score and they took it," said Kaká. "We created many chances but didn’t manage to take them and that made the difference tonight. Now we are hoping to create as many chances at the Camp Nou."
Freedom of expression
Kaká admitted he found it difficult to escape the close attentions of compatriot Edmílson during the first period, but managed to express himself more as the match wore on. "In the first half I suffered a bit with Edmílson breathing down my neck but in the second half I managed to find more space and play the way I wanted to," he explained. "Barcelona have great players but tonight we could see that they gave us some space and we often managed to go forward."
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