AC Milan vs. Barcelona: GIF of Sulley Muntari's All-Important UCL Goal

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 20:  Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari of AC Milan celebrate victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between AC Milan and Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on February 20, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

AC Milan sprung something of a surprise in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg by handing a 2-0 beating to one of the competition favourites, Barcelona.

Despite Barça's domination of possession of the ball, AC Milan created by far the better chances on goal. Milan's two Ghanaian midfielders did the damage, with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari scoring the two goals.

Boateng scored the opener when he swivelled and volleyed home a loose ball—Barcelona players were annoyed that a handball decision had not been given against Cristian Zapata in the buildup.

Muntari made sure of the first leg victory with a fine first-time effort into the far corner after some excellent pressure high up the field allowed M'Baye Niang and Stephan El Shaarawy to combine, before the latter freed Muntari to finish.

Barcelona's excellent home record meant that Milan were under pressure to come out of the first leg with a positive result if they harbour genuine hopes of making the quarterfinals at Barça's expense.

El Shaarawy in particular was an impressive performer in the game, working hard off the ball down the left hand side of the Milan midfield and breaking forward quickly down the same flank in attack. El Shaarawy was Milan's most constant threat and, with a little more control and composure, he might have had a goal himself in the first half.

As a team, Milan defended very impressively, with Philippe Mexes and Zapata constantly repelling anything around the edge of the penalty box, and the Milan midfield sitting deep to protect the back line.

It is Muntari's goal though, the all-important second strike, which might give AC Milan their best chance of making it through to the last eight of the Champions League.