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Confidence tricksters Milan scam innocent Barça

The home team were livelier and took control of the tie with two second half goals.

It would be a fine thing if somebody could trot down to Barcelona's dressing room and let the players know that the Champions League has restarted and that in this competition you pay for your mistakes. And that in knock-out tournaments it's best not to play the fool, at least not against teams as miserable as Milan. Because having seen what happened in the San Siro it's hard to believe Barcelona let themselves be suckered by such a mediocre Milan.

Roura's lot fell into a perfect trap, and came out badly burnt. The Italians played them with a perfect Nigerian 419 confidence scam, going out with a defensive line-up as if all they wanted was a 0-0. And Barcelona, too full of amour-propre, forgot to make an effort. The visitors took the bait, were utterly complacent and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Milan had scored two goals to leave the Catalans in a critical state. To be fair to Milan, they didn't need to play well to win. Allegri's team only had to push a little for Barcelona to play as badly as they did. If Barcelona play badly, they are nothing. If Milan play badly however they can win. Roura's fresh faced team fell hook, line and sinker for Milan's gambit.

Barcelona can get back from 2-0 down; what will take longer to recover from is the image of dimwittedness that the team offered, where nobody appeared to be aware of the importance of the game they were playing in. For the home leg the club will try to evoke magical nights from the past and of heroic do or die charges. But before doing that they would do well to ask why, with the League basically won and all their best players fit, they turned up for a decisive Champions League game just to make fools of themselves. They didn't have one real chance on goal. Not one. This is far worse than a lack of sharpness in front of goal, which can happen to anyone; what is worrying is that Barcelona were completely flat, like a rank outsider in this rarefied situation, rather than a team that's won four European cups. Milan pinched their wallet.

It was obvious Milan would look to play a match without a real competition. The Italians gambled on the fact that Barcelona wouldn't go for it, and the Catalans accepted the deal and came out already thinking about the second leg at home, on a nice flat surface. And so they fell in the trap. To discuss the chances from the first half would be like searching for flowers in the desert. There weren't any. That was quite logical for Milan; they were doing enough just running. But Barcelona should have been taken to court for it. Milan offered nothing because they had nothing to give. Barcelona offered nothing because they couldn't be bothered.

And so, between yawns, the second half arrived, and Barcelona's players continued to try and convince everyone that all they really cared about was their return tickets home and certainly not the ball. Barça were happy enough with a 0-0, but Milan weren't. And luck shines on the brave, just as she turns her back on the timid. Milan took advantage of the ref's mistake to score the first, but Barcelona deserved the punishment.

At 1-0 down, Barcelona became disoriented, and Milan sensed their weakness. They made it 2-0, just as the confidence trickster returns to scam the innocent again.

Estadísticas AS.com