Barca qualify for semifinals of Champions League

10:00, 05 April 2012
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 FC Barcelona produced a convincing display to defeat AC Milan 3-1 in the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday, according to Xinhua.

The result means Barcelona will play either Chelsea or Benfica in the semifinals of the competition, but they had to work hard in what was an entertaining game against AC Milan who put up stiff resistance against possibly the best side in the world.

Barcelona and Milan had produced a total of nine goals in their two previous meetings in the group stage and Barca coach Pep Guardiola had advised in his pre-game press conference that Milan would be likely to score in this game.

He began with Carles Puyol at left back and Javier Mascherano partnered Gerard Pique in central defense, while winger Isaac Cuenca was a surprise inclusion in the 11, along with Cesc Fabrigas, who had overcome a back problem.

Meanwhile Zlatan Ibrahimovich led the Milan attack on his first return to the Camp Nou since leaving the club almost two years ago.

The first 10 minutes confirmed it was going to be an open game with Ibrahimovich denied by a last gap Pique tackle and Messi firing wide with his right foot, before he took advantage of an error by Philippe Mexes to race into the Milan area, where he was brought down by Massimo Ambrosini.

Although Christian Abiatti got a touch, Messi dispatched the resulting penalty to put Barca ahead.

That was the sign for Barca to take control of the game, although they failed to create clear cut chances and Guardiola`s prediction came true after 32 minutes after Antonio Nocerino levelled the score after breaking the offside trap.

Now it was Barca who needed to score as a result of the away goal and on 39 minutes they were given a penalty after Alessandro Nesta was penalized for shirt pulling on Sergio Busquets. Messi sent Abiatti the wrong way to put Barca back in front.

There was still time for nerves before the break as Ibrahimovich hit a dangerous free kick against the Barca wall from 25 meters out.

Iniesta gave Barca some breathing space in the 54th minute. Once again Messi was involved as his shot was deflected into Iniesta`s path and the midfielder made no mistake from close range.

There were few chances in the remainder of the game as Milan appeared to accept their fate, but there was still time for Pique and Tiago to suffer apparent muscle injuries, but that should not take anything away from Barca`s success in reaching the last four of the Champions League for the fifth consecutive year.

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