This Wednesday we will be showing the first leg of the Champions League Quarter Final between AC Milan and Barcelona live on the STV website.
Aside from the obvious, the Serie A leaders are arguably the most difficult opponents that Barcelona could possibly face in their quest to become the first team to retain the Champions League. It is also a clash that has all manner of history attached, as two of the continent’s biggest clubs face each other.
Milan and Barcelona have already met in this season’s competition, with a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp and a 3-2 victory for Barcelona at the San Siro. The pair also met in 2005/06 when a Ludovic Giuly goal was enough to secure the Catalans a final place against Arsenal.
A year earlier the pair progressed together from Group E of the Champions League, with Milan going all the way to the final where they were memorably defeated by Liverpool. Andrei Shevchenko was the difference between the two sides in Milan, while goals from Samuel Eto’o and Ronaldinho handed Barca victory on their home turf, despite Shevchenko’s opener. Their Champions League group also included Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Group H of the 2000/01 tournament was composed of Milan, Barcelona, Leeds United and Besiktas. Milan won the first encounter at the Nou Camp 2-0, goals coming from Francesco Coco and Oliver Bierhoff. A month later and Barca travelled to Italy needing to win, but were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw. Rivaldo scored a hat-trick for the visitors, while Demetrio Albertini scored a brace and Jose Mari a third for Alberto Zaccheroni’s team.
In 1993/94 the Champions League final was played between Barcelona and AC Milan. With Milan at the peak of their powers under Fabio Capello, the Italians swept Barca aside. Despite deploying a side which contained the likes of Koeman, Stoichkov, Nadal, Amor, Romario and Bakero, Barcelona were picked apart by Milan, who won 4-0. Daniele Massaro scored two, with Dejan Savicevic and Marcel Desailly adding yet more comprehension to the score-line.
The very first meeting between the two sides was back in 1959/60, in the First Round of the European Cup. Goals from Marti Verges and Luis Suarez gave Barcelona a 2-0 lead to defend in the Nou Camp. Barca were in no mood to simply sit on their lead, and goals from Joan Segarra, Zoltan Czibor and a Laszlo Kubala hat-trick stretched Barcelona’s lead in the second leg to 5-1. The Catalonian club would go on to reach the semi-final before losing to their arch-rivals, Real Madrid.
This year’s teams are very different prospects. Barca’s almost routine brilliance is known to almost everyone in the football world, and it is no secret how they will approach the match. The focus will be on how Milan will stop the Barcelona midfield from functioning.
You can watch the game live at stv.tv/football from 7:30pm on Wednesday.