The Champions League quarter final second leg 2011/12 will go down in history as one of Barcelona’s most magical nights in Europe. It was a tactically rich and intensely gripping encounter, in which Barça’s stylish football, ambitious game-plan and domination of possession overcome a gallant Milan side to qualify for the semi finals. For the fifth time in a row! The Catalans scored three times in doing so, but with a bit more fortune in front of goal, the margin could easily have been even wider.
"I'm just disgusted," the Sweden international said. "They are the best team in the world but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. (But) I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here - in my opinion it was not fair."
Besides the two penalties awarded to Barça, Guardiola said that "they only shot on goal three times, we shot 21 times. We had a lot of goalscoring chances and we did it with a three and four-man defence. We played against a team that have a lot of importance and history. We’ve earned everything we’ve achieved, just like we earned it there [Milan]."
"We [the match officials] put in a good team performance. The match went as we expected it to go," Kuipers was quoted as saying by ANP. Uefa doesn't allow its match officials to comment on specific situations, but Kuipers hinted that he has no regrets about his controversial calls. "The fact that we have a good feeling about the match says it all. My phone has been ringing non-stop, and it's nothing but compliments," he added.
What marks Guardiola out is his awareness of the future, not in the sense of positioning himself for a move to another club or even in terms of youth development – although he is clearly acutely aware of that – but in terms of understanding the sweep of history, of recognising that what is good now will not necessarily be good in a year or two's time. Dress it as the lesson of Bela Guttmann ("the third year is fatal") or Karl Marx ("all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned"*), but that awareness marks Guardiola as a true dynastician. Not for him the club-hopping of Guttmann or even José Mourinho: he wants to erect an edifice for the ages, something, paradoxically, strengthened by his refusal to commit to more than a 12-month rolling contract; he will not become a weary leader, governing by convention, but leaves open a perpetual route to step down for a fresher man when the occasion calls for it.
"It was a grand night, a fantastic response from my teammates. Today, more than ever, I’m very proud to be part of this great family called Barça," said Dani Alves on his Twitter account. The defender also weighed in of the attitude of Guardiola’s team: "we knew that we had a great team in front of us and that the tie was difficult but the team responded perfectly. "I liked the team’s good play and the disposition of my teammates," said Alves who is happy that Barça eliminated "a historic team."
However, whilst Milan and Italy wept into their cappuccinos leaving both European competitions without an Italian representative, coach Max Allegri and his men have only themselves to blame. It was their poor defending that saw them concede two penalties and it was their woeful passing and cheap give-aways that ultimately saw them lose to a good Barcelona side – not a great one.
Gerard Piqué needed to come off the pitch due to injury on the 75th minute of tonight’s match against AC Milan. The defender was substituted for Adriano. After the match, the team’s Medical Services confirmed that the player sustained an injury on the bicep femoris of his left thigh. His recovery will mark his availability in Barça’s upcoming match. The Catalans will face Zaragoza on Saturday at 20:00.
The striker Samuel Eto'o had been demanding three million euros ($3.99 million) from the 2009 deal. "Barcelona would like to make public their thanks to Samuel Eto'o for his willingness to bring this contentious issue to an end," the club said. "He was one of the greatest goal-scorers in the club's history."
Roberto Di Matteo has warned his players not to take anything for granted against Benfica, though, and focus on completing the job at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. "It is a danger. This is half-time and we're leading 1-0. But a 1-0 lead is basically nothing," said Di Matteo. "Our players are aware of this, and we'll have to go into this game with the right attitude, the same attitude as against Napoli."
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