What: Champions League – Round of 16 Second leg
Who: Barcelona (0) vs AC Milan (2) (first leg score in brackets)
When: Tuesday 12th March, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Do or Die

Barcelona are facing their hardest task of the season when they welcome Italian side AC Milan to the Camp Nou for the return leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie. Having gone down 2-0 at the San Siro a fortnight ago, the Blaugrana will be hoping to forget their recent string of bad results and mastermind a memorable comeback at their home ground.

Only four times in Champions League history have a side recovered from a deficit of more than one goal and gone on to qualify for the next round, however none have managed to do so without an away goal, and this will be the hard task for Barcelona on the night.

Barcelona got back to winning ways at the weekend with a 2-0 triumph over Deportivo La Coruna after having lost their last two games, but the team are ready to meet their Italian adversaries and mark a remarkable comeback, according to stand-in coach Jordi Roura. “We’re very excited to play the match and we’re eager to compete”, he said. “We will give everything we have to fight back until the referee blows the final whistle.”

The home side will be buoyed by the fact that they are undefeated against Milan at the Camp Nou in their last five encounters.

Tough Night

A lot of teams would want to be in AC Milan’s shoes and hold a two-goal advantage against Barcelona. The Rossoneri even surprised themselves two weeks ago when they managed to shut down the Spaniards’ engines and are now in a good spot to ensure progress to the quarter-finals. Nonetheless, Barcelona were back to winning ways at the weekend – the seven-time Champions League winners will be hoping their resurrection comes to a halt here.

The club are enjoying themselves lately with a string of good results, but that has not prevented vice-president Adriano Galliani from highlighting the difficulty that his players will face when they travel to Spain.

“Barcelona are still the best team in the world. They have the player who has won the Ballon d’Or for the past four years in a row as well as the Spanish midfield that has won everything. All teams have good and bad periods and let’s hope they don’t wake themselves up against us”, warned the AC Milan transfer supremo.

Galliani’s worries can be traced back to famous situation that saw Milan crash out, back in the 2003/04 season when they lost 4-0 against Deportivo La Coruna after having triumphed 4-1 at the San Siro.

Recent form

Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid (26/02; Copa del Rey)
Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona (02/03; La Liga)
Barcelona 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna (09/03; La Liga)

AC Milan:
Inter 1-1 AC Milan (24/02; Serie A)
AC Milan 3-0 Lazio (02/03; Serie A)
Genoa 0-2 AC Milan (08/03; Serie A)

Key absences

Barcelona: Marc Bartra

AC Milan: Giampaolo Pazzini (doubt); Luca Antonini (doubt); Daniele Bonera; Nigel de Jong; Didac Vila; Mario Balotelli (ineligible)

Players to watch

Barcelona – Cesc Fabregas: The former Arsenal man has been enduring tough times lately and was booed upon his substitution at the weekend. With Xavi perhaps less than 100 per cent fit, Fabregas may have the chance to make a crucial impact in this.

AC Milan – Riccardo Montolivo: The match will undoubtedly be won in midfield. And Montolivo will have to guide proceedings as his team eye that precious away goal which could put the tie to bed.

Match Prediction

Barcelona face a monumental task, but there is no doubt that on their day, they are capable of doing it. The team got a win against Deportivo La Coruna, but even that was not classic Barcelona. AC Milan are dangerous, especially on the counter-attack and should get the score that they need to progress. Barcelona 2-1 AC Milan.

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