Wednesday night see’s two European giants collide at the San Siro. AC Milan currently sit third in Serie A, 11 points off leaders Juventus and despite winning their last seven home league games, they failed to win any Champions League group stage matches at the San Siro. The Rossoneri have been boosted by the arrival of Mario Ballotelli who has netted four goals in his first three games at the club.
Meanwhile Barcelona currently lead La Liga by twelve points and have only tasted defeat three times this season. The Catalans came from a goal behind to win 2-1 at the weekend thanks to two Lionel Messi goals, bringing his goals tally at Barca to 301 goals. The Argentine has found the net in Barca’s last 14 league games.
The bookies are offering AC Milan at 11/2 while Barca are as short as 1/2 with some, with the draw around 3/1 with most betting shops.
Wednesday’s match will be the sixth time since 2000 that the two sides face each other at the San Siro. Here are how the last five went:
Champions League Group Stage, 18 October 2000
AC Milan 3-3 Barcelona
The two played out a hugely entertaining 3-3 draw in front of almost 80,000 spectators. Rivaldo gave the visitors the lead through a powerful free kick which went under the Milan wall in the 18th minute before Demetrio Albertini drew the Italians level just seven minutes later with a superb strike from over 30 yards out. The midfielder then put his side ahead in the 39th minute with a free kick but it was cancelled out minutes later when Rivaldo doubled his tally with another free kick which Abbiati tipped on to the crossbar but came down and bounced over the line. Almost instantly Milan went back in front through Spaniard José Mari which gave them a 3-2 lead at half time. Rivaldo completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes with a diving header after latching on to a Sergi Barjuán cross. The Brazilian nearly scored a fourth goal late in the game but his header just went over the bar to see the game finish 3-3. Milan won the group with eleven points while Barca finished third a point behind second placed Leeds. The Catalans didn’t make it through to the knockout stage despite recording 4-0 and 5-0 wins over Leeds and Besiktas respectively.
Champions League Group Stage, 20 October 2004
AC Milan 1-0 Barcelona
Almost four years to the day since the enthralling 3-3 game, the two sides met again with Milan coming out as 1-0 winners through an Andriy Shevchenko header on the half hour mark. Henrik Larsson could have given the Catalans the lead early in the match but his shot came back of the crossbar. The Ukrainian headed home a Cafu cross to score the only goal of the match. Barca got revenge on the Italians two weeks later when they bet them 2-1 at the Nou Camp. Milan topped the group by 13 points, three ahead of second placed Barca who finished ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.
Champions League Semi-Final, 18 April 2006
AC Milan 0-1 Barcelona
The Catalans defeated Milan 1-0 at the San Siro in the first leg of their semi-final clash through a Ludovic Giuly goal in the second half. Milan two very good chances in the opening half, the first came when Gilardino hit the post from close range then a minute later Schevchenko’s header was carried onto the post by Victor Valdes. Barca’s goal came on 57 minutes when Giuly fired home a superb ball over the defence from Ronaldinho. The Brazilian almost got a goal for himself later in the match but his low shot hit off the inside of the post and rolled across the line and out for a goal kick. The Italians wasted numerous opportunities which allowed Barca to escape with a 1-0 victory. The second leg at the Nou Camp finished 0-0 and Barca came from a goal down to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the final in Paris to win their second Champions league title.
Champions League Group Stage, 23 November 2011
AC Milan 2-3 Barcelona
Barca took the lead on 14 minutes through a Mark Van Bommel own goal. Seydou Keita’s cross rolled across the Milan line and hit off Van Bommel to give the visitors the lead. Zlatan Ibrahimovic drew the Italians just six minutes later by rolling the ball past Victor Valdes after been played in by Clarence Seedorf. Barca were awarded a penalty on the half hour mark when Xavi was taken down in the box by Alberto Aquilani. Messi had to take the spot-kick twice after pausing in the run up to the initial kick, he fired the second one past Abbiati into the left hand corner of the net to put Barca 2-1 up. Kevin Prince Boateng showed great control and skill to draw the Rossoneri level again ten minutes into the second half before Xavi made a fantastic run to secure the win for Barca on 63 minutes. The win meant Barcelona won the group while Milan finished second ahead of Viktoria Plzeň and BATE Borisov.
Champions League Quarter Final, 28 October 2012
AC Milan 0-0 Barcelona
The sides played out a goalless draw in their last meeting at the San Siro. Robinho missed a golden opportunity for the hosts after two minutes, the ball broke to him in the six yard box but he couldn’t control it and fired it over the bar. Messi put the ball in the Milan net after 17 minutes but the Argentine was rightly deemed offside. Despite wave after wave of Barca attack, a bit of luck and wastefulness from the Catalans saw AC Milan hold out for a 0-0 draw. Barca advanced to the semi-finals after a 3-1 win in the second leg through two penalties from Messi and a goal from Iniesta with Antonio Nocerino scoring for Milan. It seems that if Milan are to advance to the last eight this year, they are going to need to bring a result to the Nou Camp from Wednesday’s match.