AC Milan and FC Barcelona meet in the penultimate group game with the top spot at stake

Who tops the Champions League group to be decided at San Siro. A Barça win would mathematically mean they finish top with one game to play. Alves, Iniesta, Adriano, Cassano and Gattuso amongst the players out.

Roger Bogunyà

November 23, 2011 02:32 PM

Milan (FCB).- San Siro Stadium hosts a classic of European football this Wednesday evening (20.45 CET) when two of the continents giants –AC Milan and FC Barcelona –go head to head  for the top spot in the Champions League Group H. The group winners would be in an ideal position for the first knock out round, with home advantage in the second leg. Barça is ahead for the moment, with Guardiola’s team enjoying a two point lead. However, with AC Milan already through to the quarter finals, the Italians could turn things around with a win, whilst for Barça a draw would probably be enough, ahead of their final group game against BATE Borisov.

Two big names out

Barça will be without four players: the suspended Alves and the injured Iniesta are probably the most important, and Afellay and Adriano are also both out, which means that the team’s manager, Pep Guardiola, will be forced to make changes –most notably at right back where Alves is a regular. Milan are also without two influential figures - Gattuso and Cassano, though Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed the game in the Camp Nou, will play.

“A perfect game”

Between them, Milan and Barça have won 11 European Cups and Guardiola warned on the eve of the game that his players will need to put in “a perfect game” if they are to win and take the top spot against a Milan team who have won both their games at home in the group and earned a valuable draw at the Camp Nou with a typically effective display.

Clash of styles

In the match at the Camp Nou, Barça had much the better of the possession and created more chances, but failed to put away enough to see off a Milan team who scored in the first and the last minute of the game to draw 2-2. Tonight’s game is likely to follow a similar script, with Allegri’s team happy to sit back and let Barça come at them, something Guardiola’s attacking philosophy always assures his team will try to do. A clash of styles maybe, but two teams with the same objective: topping Group H.