Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were never at Pompey at the same time but each was known for their spectacular big time goals before that club went into administration. Both have however played for the Black Stars, most recently at the 2010 World Cup. Controversy dogged Boateng's induction into the national team as well as the extreme German ire at Michael Ballack's torn ankle ligaments. Muntari had a falling out with Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac before being reinstated into the team. AC Milan must have thanked their stars that both bad boys found a way into their squad.
The first goal had a touch of the fortunate as Kevin Constant sets up Riccardo Montolivo's free kick in the 55th minute which hits Cristian Zapata's right hand and falls invitingly in front of Boateng and with one wheel of his left leg, the German born Ghanian sends the streaking past Victor Valdes. Barca appeal in vain but nothing comes of it.
The second goal in the 80th minute was a moment that Barca probably won't be able to live down easily. AC Milan get the ball back from a Jordi Alba thrown in as Montolivo scoops the ball forward for M'baye Niang to gallop forward brushing aside Carles Puyol easy as you like.
Niang then pauses to spot Stephen El Shaarawy at the top of the box and calmly sidefoots the ball between two Barca defenders. The Egyptian origin midfielder controls the ball brilliantly with his left foot and and flicks the ball forward with his right to Muntari arriving at the left of the trident to volley home. Calm, composed, and collected. A beautiful libretto of movements off the ball which matched the beauty on it.
Barca had most of the ball but if you had to distil it down, it was more "navel gazing" then anything as they created little. Whereas, Milan with far less had a well coached look relying on such "heads up" to open up their attack. There was no familiar gnashing of teeth on not capitalizing on chances or being clinical enough. Arsenal anyone? At the other end, they defended in numbers maintaining their shape when pressed. Arsenal anyone?
A famous victory and a well deserved one. For Barca it was a shocker. A comeback and Barca in the same sentence is an exceedingly rare occurrence. But that is what they will have to do in order to progress. Sid Lowe has more on the Black Night reaction from Camp Nou.