Barcelona and especially Lionel Messi did not wear their shooting boots today. And because of that they kept AC Milan in the hunt despite their numerous scoring chances. As an example, an early opening created by Cesc Fabregas's delectable flick left Messi one on one with Abbiati and he shanked wide.
It was left to Luca Antinioni's foul on Messi and the resulting spot kick for Barca and Messi to open their account. Milan countered though Nocerino, who may be a foot note on the talent rolls but he's probably there in the first ten list on effort. Motoring down he took Zlatan Ibrahimovic's angled pass and with a nice first touch rolled the ball past Valdes to score the equalizer. Barca looked reactive and vulnerable on defense all evening. Pique's hips don't lie anymore and Puyol looks like Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler.
The match turned decisively just before the half when Nesta tugged on Busquets's jersey off a corner, a rarely called offense but adjudged by Bjorn Kuipers to rise to the level of a penalty. Nesta in turn was gangtackled by Puyol. Milan of course was left flabbergasted but Kuipers might have felt a goal scoring opportunity was being obstructed. This being Barca, it fed into all the conspiracy theories of favouritism from UEFA. No matter, Messi buried that penalty.
Iniesta added an insurance goal showing a classy first touch with the ball falling to him following Abbiati's deflection of Messi's effort. Barca could have added more but Thiago and Adriano missed point blank chances.
The strangest part of the evening was Barbara Berlusconi's kept man, Pato in a rare appearance replacing Kevin Prince Boateng and then 15 minutes later trudging off with an apparent injury as Maxi Lopez came in his place. Pato is earning hundreds of thousands as he sits out the season with injuries and lives on the moon dating his boss's daughter. What happened to him? He was at one point one of the brightest stars in the firmament.
The semi-finals is looking more like a Chelsea - Barca match up unless Benfica causes an upset. A certain Tom Henning Ovrebo still has the power to enrage thousands of Chelsea fans.