Late Silva show denies Barca

Milan had also started the match in stunning fashion with Alexandre
Pato netting in the opening 30 seconds but Barca turned the game
around and looked to be on course to claim the win thanks to goals
from Pedro Rodriguez and David Villa. However, Pep Guardiola’s men
could not find a third goal to wrap the tie up and they were
stunned two minutes into injury time when Thiago Silva powered home
Clarence Seedorf’s corner to salvage a point for seven-time
European champions Milan. The Italian champions could hardly have
had a better start with Pato scoring soon after kick-off Barca
again started without their first-choice central defensive
partnership of Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, and the makeshift
pairing of Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets were badly exposed
by the speedy Pato. The Brazilian picked up possession near the
centre circle and then, as the Barca defence converged on him, he
pushed the ball into space behind the home backline before racing
through and slotting his shot under Victor Valdes from the edge of
the area. That was a remarkable start to the clash between the two
European superpowers, and it sparked Barca into an almost
relentless onslaught on the Milan goal as they went in search of an
equaliser. Villa shot into the side netting but it was Messi who
was at the heart of Barca’s attempted fightback, the Argentina
superstar having a shot turned behind by Christian Abbiati before
then seeing a dipping, curling free-kick hit the outside of the
post. Messi also brought another two saves out of Abbiati after
Villa had sent an acrobatic volley over the crossbar. During that
spell, Milan briefly threatened on the counter-attack but
Kevin-Prince Boateng blazed over from a decent opening on the right
of the area. Milan’s rearguard was finally breached in the 36th
minute when Barca drew level, with Messi again taking centre stage.
Milan defender Ignazio Abate looked favourite to reach the ball as
Messi tried to go past him, but the diminutive playmaker did
superbly to burst past the full-back before poking a pass across
the face of goal, where the unmarked Pedro was on hand to tap in at
the far post. Barca suffered a setback just before half-time when
Andres Iniesta limped off injured, but his replacement was the
in-form Cesc Fabregas. While Milan were quickest out of the blocks
at the start of the game, it was Barca who enjoyed the much better
start in the second period. Xavi brought a fine diving save out of
Abbiati before the home side took the lead in the 49th minute
through a brilliant free-kick from Villa, the Spain international
finding the top corner from almost 30 yards out. That goal was good
enough to win any match and it looked like settling this contest as
Milan, despite going close with a 72nd-minute header from Pato that
was saved by Valdes, still trailed as the match entered injury
time. However, there was to be a late twist as, after Milan had won
a corner on the right, Thiago Silva climbed highest in the middle
to head Seedorf’s cross past Valdes.