Xavi helps Barcelona beat Milan and top Champions League Group H-The Guardian
Milan twice came from behind as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored against his former club, and Kevin-Prince Boateng replied to a Mark van Bommel own goal and a Lionel Messi penalty. Both teams had qualified for the last 16 with two matches to spare. Barcelona’s win put them five points clear at the top and they have thus won Group H.
Barça quickly imposed their passing game and they went in front after 14 minutes when Messi found Seydou Keita at the far post. The Malian’s low ball back across the area was turned into his own goal by Van Bommel.
Milan occasionally looked dangerous and after Robinho missed a glaring chance from close range, Ibrahimovic levelled the scores when he turned Clarence Seedorf’s pass beyond Víctor Valdés.
Barça regained the lead in the 31st minute when a penalty awarded for a foul on Xavi was converted by Messi at the second attempt, his first having been disallowed for a dummy at the end of his run-up. That practice was recently banned by Fifa and it earned Messi a yellow card.
Milan scored again in the 54th minute, when Boateng controlled the ball and flicked it past a bewildered Eric Abidal in one movement, then fired a shot between Valdés and the near post. Not to be outdone, Barça replied with an equally outstanding goal nine minutes later. Messi threaded the ball through a pack of defenders and Xavi took it in his stride to slot the ball past Christian Abbiati.