Barcelona came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Milan at the San Siro
Barcelona face Real Madrid next … on Saturday. Not a bad game that one either. And on that note it is goodbye from me. Thanks for the company.
That was a thoroughly enjoyable game. Milan were superb for the first 20 minutes. Then one mistake from my man-of-the-match, Cristian Zapata, let Barça in. Second half was all about Barcelona but Allegri's men stood tall. Celtic beat Ajax 2-1 so Milan will be delighted with a point.
The game finishes 1-1
91 mins: A marvellous defensive header from Philippe Mèxes denies Fabregas a free header. Dani Alves then shoots from long range but Amelia manages to save the shot.
89 mins: The ball is back with Valdés, who sends it back straight back to where it came from.
89 mins: But Messi hits the wall.
89 mins: Messi to take.
88 mins: But what's this? A Barça free-kick about 20 metres out. Montolivo fouled Fábregas. Allegri apoplectic.
87 mins: We were, however, just treated to a brilliant piece of skill by Dani Alves, as he controlled a 40-yard pass.
86 mins: It's probably lucky I am not a betting man. This game looks like it is petering out.
83 mins: Well, they are both Italian teams and both play in stripes … Easy mistake to make.
82 mins: The Sky commentators have just called Milan "Juventus". Not a good one.
81 mins: Poli is on for Birsa and Pedro for Naymar. Oh, and Fábregas nearly scored with a header.
80 mins: Sulley Muntari should possibly have been sent off there. On a yellow already, he catches Messi from behind.
79 mins: There's been a goal at Arsenal but I'm not allowed to tell you anything about it.
78 mins: Busquets is fouled twice in five seconds. Stands up for the first one, then falls over in a heap. To be fair to the Barça man, though, he was caught.
77 mins: If I were a betting man, which I am not, I'd stick a tenner on Barcelona winning this. It's not been Allegri's season so far and Barça will get at least one more big chance.
76 mins: Can't remember Milan creating any chances at all in the second half.
75 mins: Fábregas is on now, in place of Alexis Sánchez.
74 mins: What an uneccesary foul by Dani Alves on Kevin Constant. And how is he not booked for that. He just puts on an innocent face and gets away with it.
Travis Giblin emails from the other side of the world:
Re: 8:42, I'm actually quite pleased, and therefore gracious, you mentioned the Arsenal - Dortmund game. Here in the Great White North of Canada we have the option of watching 4 games right now but the Arsenal game is the one being televised on the special $15/month channel. Which in the past was reasonable value but no longer is. So I'm stuck watching the AC Milan - Barca game with your company... What's that about gratitude again?...
70 mins: A real opportunity for Barcelona. Adriano runs onto a long, sweeping Messi-pass but, despite a good first touch, he mis-hits the shot completely. Brilliant also to see Kaká tracking him back. He ended up in the right-back position.
David Hindle writes in talk about Roy and his languages:
As you introduced the Swedish language earlier, how good is our polyglot national team manager at it in your opinion? Just curious.
Well, he's Swedish is bl**dy brilliant considering how long it is since he lived there. Lovely accent as well.
67 mins: It is all Barcelona at the moment. Messi tries to break into the Milan penalty area but there, in his way, is the omnipresent Zapata. The guy is immense.
65 mins: Balotelli looks, well, moody. It's the way he wants it.
64 mins: But it's Robinho coming off. To be fair to Allegri, Robinho has looked very tired in the second half. Problem is that Kaká is knackered too.
63 mins: Er, it actually looks like he was. Balotelli is about to come on.
Time for a change says Mr Palmeri. Is Allegri listening?
61 mins: Zapata, apart from the mistake that led to Barcelona's goal, has been pretty impressive actually.
59 mins: It would be interesting to see the the possession stats for this half. Milan have hardly had the ball. Muntari catches Sergio Busquets and is booked.
58 mins: Barcelona have a corner. Milan are holding on.
Ah, the Dutch are like the Swedes. Good to know.
Jan Karel Schreuder has been in touch:
My grandparents used to say the same thing in Dutch: "Ondank is des werelds loon". Still, they were a cheerful lot. Their parties are still remembered by all who attended them and are still alive 50 years later.
56 mins: Barcelona are on the up here. They are dominating more and more. Iniesta sets up Messi with a clever little backheel but the Argentinian misses the target.
54 mins: What a run by Iniesta! He plays a one-two with Xavi, tears into the Milan penalty area and tries to toe poke it past Amelia. The goalkeeper saves.
51 mins: What a chance for Robinho! He is completely clear with Valdés but completely misses the ball. It's an airshot without really being an airshot. Did he deliberately jump over the ball and hoped it would go in? I don't think so.
Sid Lowe's not impressed either …
50 mins: Neat passing by Iniesta and Messi but Alexis Sánchez loses possession. Does anyone know why it simply has not happened for the Barcelona No9 in Spain. He looked so good at Udinese.
47 mins: Barcelona have a free-kick in a decent position after Birsa catches Neymar in the face but it looked like the Brazilian made the most of it. Xavi fires in the free-kick but Montolivo clears.
Play is underway again
Gaizka Mendieta in the Sky Studio is rightly saying that both teams will probably be quite happy with a draw.
Can't see any either coach making any changes at half-time. Allegri will be happy with his team - apart from some sloppy passing - and Barcelona were starting to dominate towards the end of that half.
As my Swedish parents used to say: "Otack är världens lön".
Which, roughly translates into: "Ungratefulness is the salary of the world."
We're an upbeat lot, us Swedes.
And I thought I was being helpful …
Jonathan Penney is not impressed: I’m still at work! And you’ve spoiled my watching of Arsenal/Dortmund when I get home! And to think I trusted you to entertain me at work.
I have to say that - and I know it has nothing to do with this game - but Stefan Kießling should really have told the referee that it wasn't a goal, shouldn't he?
Talking about the officials. Who's in charge tonight? Well, the one and only Felix Brych, who allowed Bayer Leverkusen's phantom goal at the weekend. I bet Uefa was delighted when they saw that.
Justin Kavanagh has this to say about Barcelona's dreadful away kit - and the referees.
Never mind the vomit-inducing Barca away kit, what's with the officials' kits? The tops are black, very close to the Milan shirt, while the socks are the same gaudy yellow as the Barca colors: If Sir Alex is watching, he'll be phoning UEFA to get them to change at half-time…and to reset their watches, of course.
And it is half-time at the San Siro. Robinho and Neymar are already swapping shirts, walking off chatting to each other.
45 mins: How close was that? Well, I can tell you because I am watching the game. About 3 centimetres then. Neymar, with perfect technique, hits the ball sweetly on the volley but it flashes past Amelia and the far post.
44 mins: You know when a player is lining up a shot and you think: "No, no, no, sorry mate, that looks all wrong, don't shoot from there." Well that is just what I thought as Montolivo lined up a 30-yarder which, predictably, hit row Z.
43 mins: Goals everywhere. Tony Paley, the Guardian's racing editor, emails in to say that Preston North End have scored. Wow. Well, in our match Zapata makes amends with a great block on Messi when the Argentinian looked like scoring.
41 mins: Adriano has not had a good game so far but he gets away with it this time. Then Montolivo is booked for hacking down Neymar. He can't complain about that - and he doesn't.
Peter Lansley emails:
"Doing a live blog on the non-Arsenal match seems demanding on the football editor! Shouldn't you be allowed to put your arms back and watching bits of Dortmund match in order to deliberate back page, headlines, best pix etc!?"
Good point. Luckily Jon Brodkin is in charge of the paper tonight. I am just enjoying this match and I was just going to say that I've had more goals than Arsenal but they have just equalised...
36 mins: Great chance for Alexis Sánchez but the Barcelona forward's effort is a bit weak and Amelia can collect.
34 mins: How extraordinary. The two Milan players in the Barça penalty area at the end of that Milan attack were … Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexès - the two central defender. Brilliant. Total Football! Of course the move comes to nothing as Zapata clumsily fouls Piqué.
33 mins: Alexis Sánchez is booked for a late challenge on Kaká, who has, it must be said, has been superb so far.
32 mins: Neymar picks up the ball out on the left and is allowed to run with it but in the end he shoots wide. That's the Brazilian's best effort so far though.
32 mins: Barcelona have a corner.
30 mins: Milan have a really good chance to go 2-1 up but Philippe Mexés fails to direct his free header on target. Valdés was all over the place trying to chase Robinho's corner. Barça keeper got away with it there.
Terry Daley emails …
"Milan should easily beat this Lecce lot. They're in the third division …"
He's got a point. I am not a fan of Barça's away kit either.
25 mins: Milan will be kicking themselves. They have been totally in charge and have nothing to show for it.
24 mins: And so it was 1-1. All that Milan domination thrown away in an instant. It was Zapata's mistake, Andrès Iniesta pounced, fed the ball perfectly to Messi, who lost his footing but still scored.
22 mins: Dani Alves throws his toys out of the pram after a team-mate releases the ball too late and the Brazilian is caught offisde.
21 mins: Cracking atmosphere inside the San Siro. Allegri doesn't look terrified now. He looks content.
20 mins: And here we are 20 mins in and the first meaningful attack from the visitors. It ends with Messi sending in a low cross which Marco Amelia can collect rather easily.
19 min: Lionel Messi takes the free-kick. He lifts it beautifully over the wall but it hits the sidenetting.
18 mins: Neymar, who's hardly toucht the ball so far, is involved in a forward move but has to play the ball back to Adriano. In the end Milan concede a free-kick on the edge of the area.
17 mins: There is so much space for the Milan players. This time it is Kaká who can run at the Barça defence without being hassled too much. He produces a wonderful little pass to Robinho but the move peters out.
15 mins: This is Milan pressing at its best. Kaká and Robinho have been helping out as well.
14 mins: Messi again picks up the ball but is immediately surrounded by four Milan players. He gets past three but the fourth one – I think it's Cristián Zapata – takes the ball off him.
12 mins: And Messi touches the ball for the first time. I think it is the first time at least. That's how dominant Milan have been so far.
11 min: Muntari is down injured after two challenges to prevent Dani Alves from crossing the ball.
9 mins: Milan take the lead and deservedly so. Robinho, who has been brilliant so far, robs Javier Mascherano, holds off Gerard Piqué, exchanges passes with another former Real Madrid player, Kaká, and then beats Valdés from close range.
8 mins: Milan have the ball in the Barcelona goal but it is ruled out for offside. Robinho played a beautiful ball into the path of Sulley Muntari but the Ghanaian was fractionally offside.
Good pressing by Milan so far. Alexis Sánchez fouls Kaká and Milan have a free-kick in their own half.
Spug Spug emails:
"Are you watching on Sky and if so, is your picture cutting out or is my digibox broken? I know this is random, but it's bothering me immensely.
Picture's fine here in Guardian towers I'm afraid.
3 mins: The corner is pretty poor though with Adriano heading away easily with no Milan player even close to him.
2 mins: Milan win a corner after neat play by Robinho and Kaká.
And we're off. Can Milan repeat their tremendous 2-0 win at home against Barcelona? We're about to find out.
Massimiliano Allegri looks terrified. I don't blame him. It's not been the best of starts to Milan's season.
And while the forwards will be important, you have to say that Sulley Muntari, Nigel De Jong and Riccardo Montolivo will have to be on top of their game to put pressure on Barcelona's midfield.
The teams are out. The mascot walking out with Kaká looked, shall we say, very happy (although that does not even come close to describing how happy he looked). Over the moon is probably more like it.
Huge banner at stadium saying: "Keep calm, and always fight". That's a nice message from the Milan fans before the game...
Will be very interesting to see how Milan's front three of Robinho, Kaká and Valter Birsa perform. Big test for them with Balotelli waiting on the bench.
In other news Roy Keane has just responded to the criticism from Sir Alex Ferguson by saying he can't see the point of criticising players who helped him to so much success.
Lee Dixon, also on the ITV panel, said, hilariously, "I don't understand books" and left it that.
Always think it is a good idea to have a look at the Champions League final from 1994 when these two sides. Look away now Barça fans.
And here's the Barcelona team:
Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano, Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi, Alexis, Messi, Neymar.
Subs: Pinto, Montoya, Fabregas, Pedro, Bartra, Song, Tello.
And there is no doubt which most Milan fans are pinning their hopes on …
Good evening and welcome to this live report from Milan v Barcelona. The teams are in and here is what Milan have gone for:
Amelia, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari, Birsa, Robinho, Kaka.
Subs: Coppola, Matri, Poli, Nocerino, Silvestre, Emanuelson, Balotelli.
Marcus will be here from 7.15pm.