Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his second goal against Deportivo Coruna during their Spanish First Division soccer match at the Riazor stadium in Coruna October 20, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Miguel Vidal (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) )
Barcelona's match against AC Milan features two historic soccer clubs. Barcelona has been tremendous all season, while Milan has steadily improved of late.
Most expect Barcelona to take down Milan over the two legs, but many question whether Blaugrana will dominate the club in the first leg at Milan. Deepak Vikraman of Sports World Report thinks that the game will end in a 1-1 draw. Samuel Mardsen of Bleacher Report also predicts that Milan not lose its match. Former AC Milan and Barcelona fullback Gianluca Zambrotta is not as positive about Milan's chances.
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"It will be difficult for Milan," Zambrotta said. "Barcelona are the best team in the world. You never know, but it will be tough for [Milan]."
He added, "They are a fragile team, without much experience in Europe... Their dangermen are [Stephan] El Shaarawy and [Riccardo] Montolivo."
While there are clearly some who believe that Milan will not lose, the main question remains: Can Milan defeat Barcelona? Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri stated in a press conference that he has faith in his team's chances despite Barcelona's "favorite" status.
"We've had good performances against Barcelona in recent years in the competition but tomorrow (Wednesday) night we have to go on to the pitch believing we can go one better," Allegri stated.
He acknowledged that Barcelona has the best midfield in the world and that Lionel Messi was not the only threat. He did note that he had a straightforward strategy for winning the game. "Statistically, Barcelona are a team that -- against Milan and Real Madrid -- enjoy 65 percent possession, and we have to try and change that," he noted.
The match gets underway tomorrow at 2:45 PM EST. According to Sports World Resort, the lineups should be as follows:
Expected lineups: AC Milan: Abbiate; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio; Flamini, Nocerino, Montolivo; Niang, Prince-Boateng, El Shaarawy.
Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Iniesta.