• Champions League round-up

Muntari gives Milan two-goal advantage over Barca

ESPN staff
February 20, 2013 « Watson hammered in Memphis | Chartbeat test »

AC Milan put up an impenetrable wall to Barcelona's attacking talents and showed their own ability to play with a 2-0 victory at the San Siro, while Galatasaray held out for a draw against their more accomplished opponents on the night; Schalke 04.

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari scored for AC Milan but it was their collective defence which laid the foundations for the win.

Boateng broke the deadlock on 56 minutes when the ball fell to him after rebounding off team-mate Christian Zapata, seemingly touching his arm, and the former Portsmouth player steered the ball to the left of Victor Valdes in the Barcelona goal.

Based on Milan's tactics up until that point, it looked like the Rossoneri would shut up shop and try and take their one-goal advantage to Camp Nou and hope for the best.

But Massimiliano Allegri's team actually loosened their play slightly and carved out an excellent second goal.

The ball was played into the box from the right for Stephan El Shaarawy at the top of the area, the 20-year-old dinked the ball over the top of the Barca defence for the on-rushing Muntari and he volleyed home.

Galatasaray were pegged back by Schalke 04 in Istanbul and there was evidence aplenty that earning a passage to the quarter-finals during the return leg in Gelsenkirchen will be a tough assignment for the Turkish side.

Burak Yilmaz, the Champions League's joint-top scorer with Cristiano Ronaldo, made an early break-through for the Turkish side after 12 minutes with a superb, or fortuitous, flick through the defence followed up by a cracking finish from point blank range.

But Schalke stuck to their task and through their fast-pressing game they worked a counter-attack through Jefferson Farfan just before half-time. Farfan dragged two defenders towards him and squared to fellow midfielder Jermaine Jones who fired confidently home.

Both sides had chances to win the match but matters remained all square and nicely poised for the second leg.

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