Barcelona vs. AC Milan, 2013 UEFA Champions League: Halftime Score 2-0, Messi on fire

David Ramos

Lionel Messi has pulled Barcelona even on aggregate at halftime thanks to a pair of lovely first half goals.

Update - Match report: Barcelona 4-0 AC Milan, final score

It's been a nightmarish first half for AC MIlan as they've wasted several chances to grab an away goal and conceded two goals to Lionel Messi. Barcelona are up 2-0 which has the match even at 2-2 on aggregate.

Lionel Messi got Barcelona going early with a stunning goal from just outside the Milan area in the 5th minute. Xavi was the assist man, finding Messi is space between a group of Milan defenders who failed to close down on the Argentine. Messi never hesitated sending a shot into the top of the net that left goalkeeper Christian Abbiati frozen in place.

In the 11th minute Barcelona were denied a penalty appeal after a clumsy challenge from Ignazio Abate on Pedro. Despite the protest of players and the Camp Nou faitfhul, the referee was having none of it and waved away the appeal.

Two mintues later Abbiati made a wonderful save on an Andres Inieta blast from outside the area. Abbiati did an excellent jon parrying the shot away but left a rebound that was pounced on by Messi. Luckily for Milan, his header went wide and into the side netting.

Pedro was at the center of another penalty shout in the 21st minute after he danced his way into the Milan area before being tackled off the ball. Again the Camp Nou crowd when bonkers but the referee was not swayed. Were another official in charge of this match, Milan's thin advantage could have already completely evaporated.

Milan are getting the occasional chance to break on the counter and utilize their speed on the wing, of course when your shots are either way off target or fairly pedestrian and easy for Victor Valdés to deal with, you're wasting opportunities.M'baye Niang wasted another one of those chances in the 38th minute, racing past the Barca defensive line in a moment of disorganized confusion. The finishing just wasn't there again as Niang's shot hammered off the post.A minute later Messi made Milan pay taking a pass from Andres Iniesta of the right just outside the area. Messi made a quick move around a defender a fired a low shot past Abbiati to make it 2-0.

There are 45 minutes left to play at the Camp Nou and Barcelona are rolling having pulled even on aggregate. That said Milan have had chances and a goal would still be huge if they can improve their finishing in the second half.

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