Barcelona v AC Milan: Blaugrana can win, but probably not qualify

Barcelona will struggle if Milan can sideline Lionel Messi once more

Tobias Gourlay thinks Milan can hold on to their lead at the Camp Nou, if only by the skin of their teeth...

"If Milan maintain the defensive discipline and effort they showed in the first leg, they will take some breaking down"

Back Draw/Barcelona @ 5.59/2

Tuesday 19:45
Camp Nou
(Live on ITV1)
Barcelona 1.341/3 Milan 10.09/1 draw 6.25/1

Match Odds

Barcelona have been in similar losing positions in each of the last three seasons. They successfully turned the tie around only once - against Arsenal two years ago - suffering failures against Chelsea last season and Inter in 2010. Barring a last-minute Fernando Torres goal (seriously) they would have won all three home legs.

2-0 leads are hard to come by in the Champions League and not easily relinquished - even away from home. We've found four examples in the last decade of teams with a similar lead to Milan's hitting the road for the second leg. On each occasion they made it through to the next round (W2-D2-L0). Among teams with any sort of two-goal lead (2-0, 3-1 or 4-2) 10/12 have won the tie.

Xavi knows the size of the job and is ready to put his creaking limbs on the line, but what if the tiki taka doesn't work?

Stand-in boss Jordi Roura has looked short of back-up plans in recent weeks and it's not clear what he might have come up with since Saturday's game with Deportivo La Coruna reinforced the idea that the Catalans are a little too reliant on a single Argentinean.

Lionel Messi was hauled off the bench at the weekend as La Liga's leaders struggled to break down its bottom side. He scored in the last minute but 2-0 was hardly the statement Roura wanted to make ahead of this game.

A nugget from Opta: Messi had one touch inside Milan's box in the first leg and didn't get a single shot on target.

Those are the sort of numbers Milan as a team might expect to post on Tuesday. And because they have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last eight Champions League away games, it is hard to oppose a home win - even if the hosts' qualification is doubtful.

Over/Under Goals

Second legs often produce lots of goals: at this stage of the competition 25/36 have gone Over 2.5 Goals.

Max Allegri says his team needs an away goal, but the absence of Giampaolo Pazzini (ten goals in his last 12 Serie A appearances) and a club record of scoring only once in five away legs make that difficult.

This could be a game to buck the trend. Barca have not scored more than twice in any of their four games since the first leg, while Milan are unbeaten since Christmas and 6/6 away games since then have stayed Under 2.5 Goals.

Half Time/Full Time

If Milan maintain the defensive discipline and effort they showed in the first leg, they will take some breaking down.

Barcelona will likely find a way through at some point, but why shouldn't that be later in the game - when the toll of work is more likely to induce an error among Milan's defenders or when the pressure of an impending deadline could force the home side into all-out attack.

Barcelona/Barcelona will start an odds-on favourite in the double-result market. With their opponents prepared to ride the punches, rather than go toe-to-toe, this could go the distance and we prefer the much longer price on Barcelona drawing at half-time and only winning at full-time.

Best Bet
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 3.185/40

Recommended Bet
Back Draw/Barcelona @ 5.59/2

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