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Xavi clinches top spot for Barcelona in Milan

Published: Wednesday 23 November 2011, 22.56CET
AC Milan 2-3 FC Barcelona
Twice Milan wiped out Barcelona leads but Xavi Hernández's strike clinched victory and first place in Group H for the holders.
by Richard Aikman
from San Siro

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Match statistics

MilanBarcelona

Goals scored2
 
3
Attempts on target3
 
6
Attempts off target5
 
7
Corners4
 
3
Offsides8
 
2
Fouls committed25
 
18
Yellow cards4
 
4
Red cards1
 
0
Possession (%)40
 
60

Standings

Group H

PPts
1FC Barcelona Barcelona513
2AC Milan Milan58
3FC Viktoria Plzeň Plzeň54
4FC BATE Borisov BATE52
Last updated: 21/05/2012 17:42 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 23 November 2011, 22.56CET

Xavi clinches top spot for Barcelona in Milan

AC Milan 2-3 FC Barcelona
Twice Milan wiped out Barcelona leads but Xavi Hernández's strike clinched victory and first place in Group H for the holders.

FC Barcelona clinched first place in UEFA Champions League Group H following an enthralling victory against fellow round of 16 qualifiers AC Milan.

Xavi Hernández's 63rd-minute strike put an end to an exciting San Siro spectacle and earned the European champions a deserved victory. Milan had twice equalised, Zlatan Ibrahimović scoring against his former employers after Mark van Bommel's own goal and Kevin-Prince Boateng cancelling out Lionel Messi's first-half penalty early in the second period. Yet they must settle for a runners-up seeding in the 16 December draw.

Messi was influential from the start, dropping back to help Xavi initiate attacks, bamboozling the Rossoneri rearguard with his mazy runs and picking out runners with his wonderful vision. With four minutes gone the Argentinian international teed up David Villa for a wild shot over the bar, while Christian Abbiati had to be at his best to deny Cesc Fàbregas, who was played in by Thiago Alcántara.

The pressure told on 14 minutes when Messi produced another pass into the left channel for Seydou Keita, whose cross went in off Van Bommel under pressure from Xavi. Despite the visitors' domination Milan could have equalised almost immediately when Boateng's drive was turned over the bar from four metres out by Robinho.

Not to be outdone Messi followed suit at the other end, clipping the bar from point-blank range following another pass from the excellent Fàbregas. By that point Milan had picked themselves off the floor to level, Ibrahimović racing on to Clarence Seedorf's through ball to beat Victor Valdés.

It was but a brief respite from the Azulgrana onslaught. Abbiati denied Villa with a remarkable reflex save, but could do nothing about the retaken penalty that Messi buried – having been booked for stopping his run-up first time – following a foul on Xavi. The 24-year-old has now scored six goals in the competition this season, and would have grabbed a seventh but for another fantastic stop by the defiant Abbiati.

If Thiago Silva's header from Seedorf's corner did not remind the visitors that the job was not done yet, then Boateng's wonderful 54th-minute goal did. The midfielder beat Éric Abidal with a clever back-heel before rifling a swerving shot past Valdés. Barcelona again responded, and Messi was again instrumental, playing another ball of surgical precision to Xavi, who finished with a low shot across Abbiati.

Last updated: 27/11/12 18.51CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007647/postmatch/report/index.html#xavi+clinches+spot

Quotes

  • Massimiliano Allegri

    Read more"If we had played differently I would have been less satisfied. You know Barcelona will usually create something"

  • Josep Guardiola

    Read more"If the supporters are entertained then that is what it is all about because they are who we play for"

Lineups

milan

Milan

barcelona

Barcelona

32
AbbiatiChristian Abbiati (GK)
1
Víctor ValdésVíctor Valdés (GK)
4
Van BommelMark van Bommel
Goal14
Yellow Card34
Substitution72
4
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas
Substitution80
10
SeedorfClarence Seedorf (C)
5
PuyolCarles Puyol (C)
Yellow Card43
11
IbrahimovićZlatan Ibrahimović
Goal20
6
Xavi HernándezXavi Hernández
Goal63
13
NestaAlessandro Nesta
Substitution66
7
VillaDavid Villa
Substitution68
18
AquilaniAlberto Aquilani
Yellow Card24
Red Card30
10
MessiLionel Messi
Yellow Card31
Goal31
19
ZambrottaGianluca Zambrotta
Yellow Card86
11
Thiago AlcántaraThiago Alcántara
Substitution90+1
20
AbateIgnazio Abate
14
MascheranoJavier Mascherano
Yellow Card85
27
BoatengKevin-Prince Boateng
Goal54
15
KeitaSeydou Keita
33
Thiago SilvaThiago Silva
16
BusquetsSergio Busquets
70
RobinhoRobinho
Substitution46
22
AbidalÉric Abidal
Yellow Card45+2

Substitutes

1
AmeliaMarco Amelia (GK)
13
PintoJosé Manuel Pinto (GK)
7
PatoPato
Substitution46
3
PiquéGerard Piqué
22
NocerinoAntonio Nocerino
Substitution72
9
Alexis SánchezAlexis Sánchez
Substitution68
23
AmbrosiniMassimo Ambrosini
17
Pedro RodríguezPedro Rodríguez
Substitution80
25
BoneraDaniele Bonera
Substitution66
19
MaxwellMaxwell
28
EmanuelsonUrby Emanuelson
24
FontàsAndreu Fontàs
77
AntoniniLuca Antonini
28
J. Dos SantosJonathan dos Santos
Substitution90+1

Coach

Massimiliano Allegri (ITA) Josep Guardiola (ESP)

Referee

Wolfgang Stark (GER)

Assistant referees

Jan-Hendrik Salver (GER), Mike Pickel (GER)

Fourth official

Peter Gagelmann (GER)

Additional assistant referees

Peter Sippel (GER), Christian Dingert (GER)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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