By JOHN BOSCHINI
It's all square heading back to Camp Nou as Barcelona and AC Milan battled to a scoreless draw at the San Siro in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie.
AC Milan wasted early chances from Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic but didn't threaten much after the opening half-hour. Barcelona, meanwhile struggled to break down Milan's organized and inspired defense, which became the first unit to shut out Barcelona in the Champions League since Rubin Kazan accomplished the feat in November, 2009 — a span of 30 matches. The Italian side will take hope that denying the cup holders an away goal is part of what will send them through to the semifinals.
Bayern Munich are out to a seemingly insurmountable lead over Marseille with a 2-0 away win. Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben scored for the German side. Bayern were deadly on the counter attack, while Marseille did little more than force a few good saves out of Manuel Neuer. Bayern have scored two goals in every home European game this season, so Marseille face a difficult task in the return leg on April 3.
Here is a closer look at both quarterfinal first leg results:
AC MILAN 0, BARCELONA 0
Both AC Milan and Barcelona had opportunities to take an early lead at the San Siro. An uncharacteristic mistake by Barcelona allowed Kevin-Prince Boateng to rifle a shot from the edge of the area. The rebound came to Ibrahimovic, who passed it to Robinho, but the Brazilian somehow missed from six yards out with a volley. It was Ibrahimovic's turn to waste a chance when his open shot was right at Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes. Barcelona will feel aggrieved that Alexis Sanchez wasn't awarded a penalty when he was brought down in the 14th minute by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, and the referee allowed play to continue.
The second half was oddly light on chances, though Carles Puyol muffed two open headers from Barcelona corners, as both sides settled for the draw. Barcelona continued to control possession for long spells, often in Milan's half, and almost found a late winner but Lionel Messi's shot was saved and the rebound was blocked well by Luca Antonini. The game finished with Barcelona registering 18 shots and having 65 percent of the possession.
MARSEILLE 0, BAYERN MUNICH 2
Bayern Munich scored the only first-half goal of the Champions League quarterfinals en route to their victory over Marseille, but it was the home side that got off to a fast start. Neuer made a good save on a Marseille corner and the resulting rebound was put into the side netting by Loic Remy.
Bayern controlled the game from then on but didn't create too many chances before taking the lead in the 44th minute. Robben found Gomez on the counter attack and Gomez's hard shot squeezed under Elinton Andrade.
The lead was doubled, and the tie effectively ended, in the 69th minute when Robben finished off an impressive combination between himself and Thomas Mueller.
What did you think of today's results? Disappointed by the draw in Milan? Do you think Barcelona will be better at home? Does Marseille have a prayer or will Bayern advance comfortably?
Share your thoughts below.