One of the more highly anticipated battles of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will take place on Wednesday when Serie A powerhouse AC Milan takes on La Liga's dominant Barcelona club in San Siro.
Winners of three of the last seven Champions League trophies, Barca has asserted itself as an international juggernaut led by prolific scorer Lionel Messi. But the Rossoneri have a plethora of talent as well, keyed by striker Stephan El Shaarawy, and have seven Champions League titles of their own.
The two clubs tied the first leg in last year's quarterfinal matchup before Barca emerged with a decisive 3-1 victory in the subsequent fixture.
Here is where to catch the action online in what should be a thrilling first leg of this clash between two of world football's most renowned franchises.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: San Siro, Milan
This international showcase will feature the world's most powerful club in 2013 in Barca against a Milan team that has found new life after struggling in the early going this season.
At the January transfer window, the Rossoneri were able to sign mercurial forward Mario Balotelli away from the English Premier League's Manchester City. Since then, the Italian native Balotelli and El Shaarawy have created a formidable tandem in AC Milan's attack, and it has led the club on an outstanding hot streak.
Unfortunately, due to the recent acquisition, Balotelli is not eligible to play in this match (h/t The Express).
These are simply two of the hottest clubs right now. Milan is on a seven-game unbeaten streak in Serie A, and Tito Vilanova's bunch is determined to avenge last year's disappointment in the UCL semifinals.
Vilanova is in a battle with cancer, and Barcelona continues to play inspired football for their typical manager.
The Italians have made it difficult on themselves by reaching this point in the tournament, having not won a fixture in the friendly confines of San Siro in the group stage and two of six matches overall. But in order to have any hope of reaching the quarterfinals, that trend will have to change. They simply can't expect to make up more than a one-goal deficit at Camp Nou in March.
Despite how tough Milan has been at home, it seems difficult to imagine that Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi will all be held in check.
The absence of Balotelli will hurt, but the stout defense of the Rossoneri and the raucous home crowd that should be at its 80,000-plus capacity will definitely make things interesting.
However, Messi and Co. will prove to be just a bit too much, and Milan won't be able to muster enough of an attack to counter Barca's explosiveness.
Final Score: Barcelona 4, AC Milan 2
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