The turn around happened & in a big way as FC Barcelona defeated convincingly AC Milan to continue onto the quarter - final phase of the Champions League. The final score ( result ) was 4 - 0 to the Spanish Football Club that gave them the tie with a 4 - 2 aggregate in their favour.

The Italians made the same mistake most Clubs make when they come to "Camp Nou", defend & speculate with counter-attacks. Giving the ball on purpose & the initiative to Barcelona is a sure manner to get hammered & this is what precisely happened to AC Milan.

However, there was one moment that could have changed it all. A defensive error by Barça player Mascherano allowed Milan forward Niang a clear run at the goal with only keeper Valdes to which he shot to hit the post. Milan had possibly the tie wrapped up but the miss by Niang & consequent recovering of the ball by Barça converted itself through the continuing play into a Barcelona goal. The missed chance was severely punished with a Barça goal, a symptom of the way the night was going & would finish for Milan. 

Champions League FC Barcelona - AC Milan 2013

FC Barcelona knew before the game that they had to win 3 - 0 to get themselves through & from the first second of play poured it on to overwhelm a Milan side intent on defending their "San Siro" 2 - 0 result. The Italian strategy failed as Lionel Messi was to signal his intentions & protagonism with a brillation crafted & executed first goal in the 5th min. It lifted the Barça spirit & convinced them that they could pull it off tonight.

Then the moment the Italians will be dreading all night & the coming days & weeks when forward Niang had the match on a platter but missed a clear opportunity that hit the post. Never again was Milan to receive such an opportunity as the door into the quarter-finals slammed shut on their face.

Champions League FC Barcelona - AC Milan 2013

The immediate reaction from that lost opportunity by Milan was a savage blow to the stomach with a second goal for Barça from Lionel Messi in the 39th min. Crushing for the Italians whom saw how it all slipped away seconds before. 

Champions League FC Barcelona - AC Milan 2013

FC Barcelona at this stage was just one goal away from the objective & in came in the 55th min when David Villa scored the sort after third goal. Mayhem as the stadium burst in jubilation & joy with Barça at that stage qualified.

AC Milan had no other option but to put in forwards ( Robinho & Bojan ) to find a goal, a goal that would put them into the quarter-finals with the away goal rule. The Italians left their defensive obsessions through the need & possibly played their best Football all night. Then in a last gasp attack from the Italians, a fumble gave Barça the ball which counter-attacked via Messi & Alexis Sanchez who passed into a run Jordi Alba who scored the fourth goal in the 92th min.  Game over & goodnight for AC Milan which was truly beaten & may I say humiliated in the sense of being totally out played on all fronts.

Last observations. A mention must go out to the Barça midfield which controlled everything from the first kick off. Xavi Hernandez set the pace, direction & rhythm all night, while Andres Iniesta is simply magic & poetry in motion, a delight for the Football eyes & deadly in his results for the opponents. Lastly, Messi did what a player of his calibre needs to do under such an occasion, bite the bullet of the situation & resolve which he did as a four time FIFA Golden ball player.

Great night of Spanish Football, excellent result for Barcelona & commiserations to AC Milan.

Tomorrow more Champions League with Spanish Football team Malaga FC also needing to turn around an adverse 1º tie result. We wish them the best. 

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