Champions League round-up: Messi is magic in Milan to put Barça on top
Thursday 24 November 2011
Xavi got Barcelona's winner as they triumphed 3-2 over Milan in a pulsating game at San Siro last night which ensured the Champions League holders top their group.
A typical piece of Lionel Messi artistry produced Barça's winner in the 63rd minute, his exquisite pass cutting out four Milan defenders for Xavi to score from 10 yards. Earlier, the visitors had taken the lead when Seydou Keita's low cross was turned into his own goal by Mark van Bommel, playing against his old club.
However, it was another former Barcelona player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who grabbed Milan's equaliser in the 20th minute when Clarence Seedorf found some space down the left and played in the Swedish striker to finish with a curling shot from 12 yards.
Controversy shrouded Barcelona's second 11 minutes later. Xavi tumbled in the penalty area in pursuit of Cesc Fabregas's delightful through-ball and, though there seemed to be little contact with his marker Alberto Aquilani, Wolfgang Stark pointed to the spot.
The German referee's next action was to book Messi for halting his run-up in beating Christian Abbiati, and ordering a re-take. The result was the same with the re-taken kick, Messi beating Abbiati, this time low down to his left.
While Manchester City, the world's richest club, look unlikely to reach the knockout stages, tiny Apoel Nicosia have made it with a game to spare after drawing 0-0 at Zenit St Petersburg.
The Cypriot champions become the first side from their country to reach the last 16 but had to ride their luck yesterday in a second half that saw 10 additional minutes played because of interruptions to the game caused by smoke from the Zenit fans' flares.
Zenit, missing injured striker Alexander Kerzhakov, who is their leading scorer in the Russian league this season, wasted numerous chances, Roman Shirokov and Alexander Bukharov being the biggest culprits.
"This is a fantastic result for our team," said Apoel's Serbian coach, Ivan Jovanovic. "Of course, we're a small team compared to many European giants but we have a big heart. We have good players who try hard every single game and they also have a great desire to achieve something really important."
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Latest in Sport
Transfer news round-up: Barcelona to offer £37m for Manchester United striker Robin van Persie; Manuel Neuer interests Manchester City; Luiz Gustavo on Tottenham radar
Roy Keane omits Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs from 'greatest' Manchester United team
Gareth Bale puts five-bedroom Essex mansion up for sale at £2.2m following £86m switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid
Former England captain Mick Mills 'turned a blind eye' to initiation ceremony abuse at Stoke City, which included sexual assault dubbed 'The Glove'
Manchester United player ratings: The best (and worst) performers for David Moyes during the season so far
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial