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AC Milan v Barcelona

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Barcelona: Chasing Champions League glory

Barcelona: Chasing Champions League glory

AC Milan face arguably the most daunting task in European football when they host Barcelona at the San Siro in their UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg on Wednesday night.

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The Rossoneri themselves have been in fine form in Serie A, winning four out of their last five games, and continue to push for a third place league finish.

Milan's run of form has coincided with the arrival of Mario Balotelli from Manchester City.

The mercurial striker has been instrumental in recent games for Massimiliano Allegri's side, scoring four goals in three appearances.

However, Allegri will have to do without his latest acquisition for the midweek clash having featured for the Citizens in the group stages and is cup-tied.

Additionally, Nigel de Jong will miss the clash with an ankle injury, while Robinho (knee) and Daniele Bonera (thigh) are both doubts to make the match-day squad.

Giampoalo Pazzini will likely start after recovering from his ankle problem, with Kevin Prince-Boateng and Stephan El Shaarawy providing the width on the flanks.

Meanwhile, the Catalans have been at their prolific best in recent weeks, but needed a brace from Lionel Messi to seal a come-from-behind 2-1 win away to Granada at the weekend.

Nonetheless, the La Liga leaders have the best attack in the Spanish top-flight at present, with 80 goals in their 24 league games this season.

Assistant coach Jordi Roura will be boosted by the return of Xavi in midfield, and will have virtually a full strength side to choose from, with the exception of Adriano (thigh), Eric Abidal and David Villa (both illness).

Andres Iniesta is expected to start out wide at the expense of Alexis Sanchez, who drops down to the bench, with Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Pedro supporting Messi up front.

Posted: 19/02/13 12:57

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