Let's be honest, you can look at this match in a myriad of ways. You can say it was an opportunity lost for Milan, you can say Barca didn't capitalize, or you can sit back and admire the fact that AC Milan went out and did something few teams have been able to do all season long. That is to stop Barcelona!
If you want to be exact, it is thirteen games straight that Barcelona have scored a goal in the Champions League. That is until today. Fans bemoaned the loss of Silva and were worried that injuries would take their toll, and instead we were treated to a great tactical battle and one that puts Milan in the driver's seat in the return leg at the Camp Nou. Yes, it is still a tall order, but considering the circumstances, Milan did accomplish something on this night with everything to game in six days time.
I have to admit I was bit unnerved by the defensive lineup and the inclusion of Seedorf, but in the back of my mind I always remember that the Old Guard seems to shine the brightest in matches like this one, and tonight was no different. Nesta, at less than 100%, was solid. Ambrosini, coming off three days rest, was just as strong, and good old Clarence, one of our most polarizing figures, played a full ninety albeit a slow ninety! The real story was the incredible matches from players often written off in the form of Bonera and Antonini who put in performances of the season.
Sure Barcelona fans, and even cynical Milan fans, will point to the numbers. Barcelona had the bulk of possession and three times more shots, but shots on goal were even, and one could argue that Milan had the chance of match through Robinho. While Barcelona's best chances were merely shouts for penalties! But those stats really don't matter because it is the final score that holds all the value and now after a tactical chess match between Max Allegri and Pep Guardiola, we are only ninety minutes from resolution to this saga! The last time Milan played this sort of tacital gamble, they lost at the at San Siro to Arsenal in 2008 after keeping things scoreless at Emirates, but this is a different team and one with something to prove. Even a draw sees Milan through!
Not much more I actually want to say about the match, was so nervous I will surely need a second viewing to let this all sink in, but the fact that players are returning to contribute, such as KPB, Robinho, Nesta and Abate, mean Milan only continue to get stronger and improve and as the season continues it will be all on hands deck to assure success Domestically and continue this run in the CL. But there is little rest for the weary, as the Serie A schedule offers little relief with a trip to Catania on Saturday. This will not be an easy match, as since the New Year Catania is second only to Milan in points earned, and Montella will have his boys primed to shake up the top and stay ahead of our dear friends Inter in the table. More on that I hope in the coming days, in the meantime let's all take and deep breath and recover from today!