Barcelona got a 0-0 draw at San Siro, a result that opens up great prospects for the second leg at Camp Nou next week. The very poor state of the San Siro pitch made it very difficult for Barcelona to play their usual passing game successfully, but they still managed to control the game and create quite a few chances to win, although they failed to convert.
Here are the ratings for today’s match.
Victor Valdés – 8
Didn’t have much work, but stepped up big time whenever needed, namely saving a shot from Ibrahimovic, which was Milan’s best chance, in the first half.
Carles Puyol – 8
Was great at the back as usual, this time on the left, making several key interceptions and winning pretty much every one-on-one with Milan’s attackers. Should have had a penalty late in the match when Mesbah fouled him in the box.
Gerard Piqué – 8
Also had a very good performance overall, with several key interceptions and brilliant play in the air, although he was beaten by Zlatan Ibrahimovic a few times.
Javier Mascherano – 9
Had a brilliant performance. He was a wall at the back, completely impenetrable. It’s hard to believe he used to be a midfielder not long ago.
Daniel Alves – 7
Was mostly untroubled defensively and wasn’t as dangerous as usual up front, although he was involved in most of the team’s attacking moves.
Sergio Busquets – 7.5
Made a tremendous mistake early in the game, almost giving Milan the first goal, but he was his usual self after that, with brilliant positioning and passing, playing a key role in how Barcelona controlled possession in this match.
Seydou Keita – 7
Had a solid, even if not brilliant, performance. Didn’t do anything spectacular, but added some steel and consistency in the middle of the park and had the best pass completion ratio in the team, missing only four passes the whole game.
Xavi Hernandez – 8
Had a great game, maintaining his usual passing mastery despite the terrible state of the pitch and pulling the strings as always in Barcelona’s midfield. He also linked up well with Messi and Sanchez in the first half and missed two great chances to score.
Andrés Iniesta – 6.5
Had a very underwhelming performance for his standards. Didn’t really adapt well to the left wing role he was assigned. His ball control wasn’t at its best and his shots were mostly horrendous. He was subbed by Tello in the second half.
Alexis Sanchez – 7
Ran his heart out, always making life uncomfortable for Milan’s defenders, and had some very good chances to get on the scoresheet, but unfortunately couldn’t take them.
Lionel Messi – 7.5
Was far from his best, but still wreaked havoc and drew cards with his mesmerizing dribbling skills and created chances with his wonderful vision and link-up play.
Christian Tello – 6.5
Started his brief appearance well, beating Bonera for pace quite handily, but Milan’s defense eventually understood how to stop him. He kept trying the same trick every time and Milan’s defense, namely Bonera, had little trouble handling it in the final minutes of the game.
Pedro Rodriguez – 6.5
Replaced Alexis Sanchez with 15 minutes left to go, and picked up where the Chilean had left off. Excellent work off the ball, even in defense, but didn’t contribute much attacking-wise.
Editor’s Note: These ratings have been written by Manuel Traquete. He is a lifelong FC Barcelona supporter and a freelance football writer who shares his thoughts @Manueltraquete
Image: DANIEL DAL ZENNARO [EFE ]