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Champions League: Bayern Munich cruise to victory, AC Milan and Barcelona settle for a draw
Day two of action in the Champions League quarter-finals saw AC Milan earn a scoreless draw against Barcelona. While in France, Bayern Munich took the first leg of their battle with Marseille, with an impressive 2-0 victory.
Edmonton - March 29, 2012 - Day two of action in the Champions League quarter-finals saw Bayern Munich take their first step towards returning to the semi-finals and defending champions Barcelona have a tough time with Italian giants AC Milan. The Serie A leaders manged to keep the powerful Spanish side off the score sheet, the best they could manage was a scoreless draw at home in Milan. While in France, Bayern Munich were led by Mario Gomes and his Champions League leading twelfth goal, taking the first leg of their battle with Marseille, with an impressive 2-0 victory.
In what many were hoping to be the match-up of the quarter-finals, AC Milan played Barcelona to a stand still in limiting the highly skilled side to few opportunities. In fact, Milan had a wonderful chance in the opening minutes to take an early lead but Brazilian Robinho badly missed a wide open look, sending a strike from inside the box high and over the bar.
Barcelona appeared to have opened the scoring, when Lionel Messi deposited a cross from Dani Alves into the Milan net at the thirteen minute mark but the goal was correctly waived off, as the Argentine was clearly in an offside position. An early goal from the Catalan giants could have been disastrous for the home side but would have been just what the match needed, to open things up.
As the match progressed, Barcelona gained more and more of the ball and finished the match with 62% of the possession but it mattered little to the Italians. While Messi and company may have had the ball for much of the night, Milan was at their finest in their own end. Time after time, they not only kept Spanish side at bay but did so with great style and ease.
With neither side able to find the back of the net, the two clubs will now head to Camp Nou for the return leg next week. While Barcelona will be heavily favoured on home soil to go through to the semi-finals, if AC Milan were ever able to find a lead, the Catalans would be hard pressed to find the two goals necessary to move on.
An undermanned Marseille side caused little trouble for Bayern Munich, though the German side did not get off to the strongest of starts. In what was a rather physical but not overly entertaining opening half, Marseille managed to keep Bayern off the board and with a little luck, may have found themselves with a lead at the half. Instead, they were starring at a one goal deficit courtesy of blown call and a late goal from Gomez in the forty-fourth minute.
Moments before the Gomez marker, Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena shot deflected off defender Philipp Lahm's hand and should have been whistled down for a free kick. Unfortunately for the French side, the play was not blown down and Bayern instantly went on the counter attack. Arjen Robben found Gomez with a lovely ball that the German striker teed up and fired from just outside the box and some how found its way past Elinton Andradein, into the Marseille net. Simply put, a terrible bit of goalkeeping.
The visitors would go up a pair when Robben started and then finished, a brilliant give and go with Thomas Muller, with a beautiful finish inside the far post. The Dutchman was in fine form this night and his goal in the sixty-ninth minute, put this one to bed and was a thing of beauty.
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