Barcelona face Champions League exit after 2-0 defeat
Barca 'lost control' after AC Milan's first goal says defender – but coach promises to 'turn it around'
AC Milan 2-0 Barcelona. Veteran defender Gerard Pique admits Barcelona "lost control" at the San Siro as AC Milan took a firm grip on their Last-16 Champions League tie.
Goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari leave Barcelona facing elimination from the tournament unless they can overwhelm their Italian opponents at the Camp Nou in the return leg on 12 March.
"When they scored the first we lost control," admitted Pique. "It's a really bad result. We must improve and learn from tonight. We will look to respond on one of those magical nights at the Camp Nou."
Barcelona went into the tie as firm favourites to progress to the last eight of the Champions League but the Spanish league leaders were undone by a well-organised and aggressive Milan side who gave Lionel Messi scant opportunity to show his lethal shooting skills.
Despite lying third in Serie A, eleven points behind leaders Juventus, Milan soaked up early Barcelona pressure before scoring twice in the second half. The goals both came from Portsmouth old boys, Boateng firing home on 57 minutes after a Riccardo Montolivo free kick ricocheted into his path, and then Muntari volleying past Victor Valdes nine minutes from time.
Muntari played 28 games for Pompey between 2007-08 before departing for Inter Milan and the Ghanaian international admitted that his first goal in the Champions League has edged his side to the brink of qualification for the last eight. "We were very disciplined and played as a team, and while it won't be easy in the Nou Camp, a two-goal advantage gives us a fantastic chance."
Barcelona, who are chasing their third Champions League title in five years, didn't take defeat well, with assistant coach Jordi Roura complaining: "I think that the result is undeserved. They made a couple of opportunities and scored from them which now makes things tricky for us."
He added: "We are confident in our own team and playing at our own stadium. It will be a different story in the second leg and we fully believe we can turn this around." ·