AC Milan vs. Barcelona: Catalans Failure to Score Makes for Epic Camp Nou Finish

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterMarch 28, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 28:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between AC Milan and Barcelona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 28, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Both AC Milan and Barcelona had their chance at the San Siro in the first leg of quarterfinal of Champions League play, but the fact that the Catalans were left a frustrated side means everything. 

A spirited game that saw so many close calls on both sides ended in a draw when neither team found the net. 

While AC Milan came away without the victory, they certainly have new reason to hope that they can usurp the best in the world next week in the second leg at the Camp Nou. 

Anything can happen in a one game match that may need but a goal from traveling Milan to sneak into the next round in the all-important tournament. If you think that would be near impossible, consider Milan have done the unthinkable. 

This is the first time in Champions League play this season that the Catalans were sent off the pitch without securing a goal. What's more, this is the first time in nine game that the magical Lionel Messi was held scoreless, not that it was from a lack of form. 

MILAN, ITALY - MARCH 28:  Alessandro Nesta (R) of AC Milan and Lionel Messi of Barcelona compete for the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg match between AC Milan and Barcelona at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on March 28, 2012 in Mila
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Messi was just as unrelenting as he has ever been, controlling deep attacks and taking shots on goal that may have found the net on any other day.

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One such moment came in the 88th minute when Messi took a shot from the right side of the box, only to see it deflected and then find Christian Tello.

It was that moment that the air left the stadium as Tello tried to hit home the winner, only to see Luca Antonini pull off the save of the match. 

It was that kind of game, where heroic efforts were just as necessary as blind luck.

Now comes April 3rd and a showdown at the Camp Nou, a match Barcelona will be expected to control from the open.

What we found on Wednesday, and have to remember headed into next week, is that Milan is no pushover squad, and are well prepared to stave off a great many Barca attacks.

This is great news for fans as the Catalans will no doubt be far more fierce at home and will enjoy a great comfort in possession.

Taking the second leg will not be an easy task for Milan, but the same can now be said for Spanish giant Barcelona. 

That fact should signal how well Milan played when they needed to against arguably the world's best.