Alexandre Pato: AC Milan striker is back in the squad after injury and will undergo a late fitness test

AC Milan v Barcelona Xavi Hernandez Clarence Seedorf

Barcelona will hope a return to a smooth surface will play a decisive role in securing a semi-final spot in the UEFA Champions League at AC Milan’s expense.

Last week’s 0-0 draw in the first leg at the San Siro saw Barca struggle to showcase their normal fluid football and the holders complained about the state of the pitch after the game.

However, conditions at Camp Nou will bring out the best in Pep Guardiola’s side and a much more cohesive performance is expected from Barcelona.
Guardiola is predicting goals in Tuesday’s second leg and is determined to identify a way for his team to create plenty of opportunities.


“We have to think that Milan will score and they are capable enough of scoring at least one goal,” said Guardiola. “We have to generate as much attacking momentum and danger as possible.

“I think we will have possession of the ball but we have to find the way to create chances. I think they could score more than one goal, so we have to find the way to score more.”

The Barcelona coach is also wary about the aerial threat posed by the club’s former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He added: “We need a ladder to stop a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic because he’s so tall. If it’s a high ball we know it’s for Ibrahimovic because of his height. We will try therefore to keep him away from the box.”

Guardiola will give a late fitness test to influential midfielder Xavi, who missed training on Monday due to a calf complaint.

If Xavi fails to make it then Cesc Fabregas, who sat out the weekend win over Athletic Bilbao due to a back problem, is likely to come into the side.

Adriano returned from injury against Athletic and should keep his place as Barcelona chase just a third home win in seven meetings with Milan.

The Serie A leaders draw 2-2 at Camp Nou in the group phase when Thiago Silva scored an injury-time equaliser and Massimiliano Allegri will hope history favours his team.

On the four previous occasions when Milan have drawn 0-0 at home in the first leg of a knock-out tie, the club have progressed to the next round.

Milan coach Allegri is confident his side can score an away goal, but he is also aware of the dangers posed by a team which has won two of the past three Champions Leaguefinals.

“We must play as we did in the opening leg and make sure we don’t concede a goal,” Allegri said. “This game is like a final and we are ready.

“I expect the strongest Barcelona side. Barcelona remain the best team in the world.

“But I believe there will be two or three situations during Tuesday’s game where the tie could be decided and we need to be smart to interpret them well. I am confident we can score a goal.”

Brazilian forward Alexandra Pato could be on the bench for Milan following over a month on the sidelines and he will be given a late fitness test.

Sweden international Ibrahimovic will spearhead Milan’s attack, with Robinho and Kevin Prince-Boateng due to provide the support.

Defender Alessandro Nesta and midfielder Clarence Seedorf are set to return to the starting XI having been rested at the weekend for the 1-1 draw at Catania.

Centre-half Thiago, who has previously been mooted as a transfer target for the Spanish champions, is sidelined, along with former Barcelona midfielder Mark van Bommel and Alexander Merkel.


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