A LIONEL Messi strike saw Barcelona maintain their two point lead at the top of Group H after drawing 1-1 at AC Milan.
Scorers: AC Milan - Robinho (10); Barcelona - Messi (23)
The Argentine struck in the 23rd minute with a fine finish to a breakaway move to cancel out Robinho’s stylish tenth minute opener, which came during a frantic opening period of pressure from the home side. Barcelona moved up to seven points, with unbeaten Milan in second spot on five, two ahead of Celtic who beat Ajax 2-1 in Glasgow.
Milan came racing out of the blocks, putting pressure on Barca’s backline and a defensive error led to Robinho’s goal.
The Brazilian former Real Madrid and Manchester City forward beat the away side’s dithering defenders to a high ball, and after exchanging passes with countryman Kaka, slid a simple finish past Victor Valdes.
The home side rarely looked troubled in the opening period, but found themselves back to square one 14 minutes later after giving the ball away sloppily to Andres Iniesta. The Spain midfielder slipped in Messi on the right, who after cutting inside drilled low to level the scores just as he looked to have lost his footing.
Remarkably it was Messi’s 26th goal in his last 23 Champions League appearances.
Barcelona dominated the second half against a tired Milan, but despite a couple of good chances couldn’t make the most of their possession and had to settle for a point that will please the Italians.
AC Milan: Amelia, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Montolivo, De Jong, Muntari, Birsa (Poli 80), Robinho (Balotelli 64), Kaka (Emanuelson 71). Subs Not Used: Coppola, Matri, Nocerino, Silvestre.
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano, Iniesta, Busquets, Xavi, Alexis (Fabregas 74), Messi, Neymar (Pedro 81). Subs Not Used: Pinto, Montoya, Bartra, Song, Tello.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)