by Darren Walsh

How do you stop Lionel Messi? It’s the question that has plagued teams for years, but luckily Silvio Berlusconi has the answer: “My suggestion is that Messi should be man marked.” Top tactical advice, Silvio. He also said that he’s never told a manager what team to pick. He must have forgotten the time that he told Ancelotti to always play with two strikers.

The usual system of a mascot for each player; there’s a nice symmetry with Puyol’s having the same hairstyle as him.

Massive banners around the San Siro; not a good combination with flares.

Massimiliano Allegri wearing a leather jacket under a long coat? He’s been in Milan for a few years; I guess he must know what he’s doing.

I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen Barcelona’s away jersey in a match, and it looks as bad as it does on an official picture. Either make it orange or yellow, not both!

Not sure why the Milan players have such an obsession with Mohawks. It seems like most have them, with varying degrees of wideness. Maybe it’s a team unity thing that I haven’t heard about.

Already danger signs for Milan, with Messi taking one touch to get away from three defenders and shoot. Afterwards, Ambrosini handballs in the area but luckily for him there was already an offside.

El Shaarawy clean through from the left wing, and also offside, but he overcooks his second touch and Puyol nicks it away. After the goal kick and a foul, Puyol uses the opportunity to further harangue the ref about the lack of a decision.

Nice banner in honour of Franco Baresi behind the left hand goal. I hope there’s one around for Paolo Maldini, who was treated so badly in his final game for the Rossoneri.

All I hear about Giampaolo Pazzini from Milan fans is that he’s not very good. Maybe he’s around so there’s an actual Italian in the team, and he’s definitely trying to keep Alessandro Del Piero’s spirit alive with those sideburns.

Milan look happy to break the game up with stoppages, and not much is really happening. Not sure if either team is going to force the issue. It’s now halftime when I could have sworn that we’d already played a full game. Plus 30 minutes extra time.

I don’t know the reason for this, and it especially happens on the Irish channel, but we have to put up with three “bumpers” or transitions from the programme to the ads as a less technical description. I don’t really need someone shouting “THE CHAMPIONS!!” at me that much.

Strange camera angle for some touchline action there; the guy standing just off the pitch must have been on his stomach for it.

Oh Busquets, you have too much of a reputation to get away with this. He goes through Muntari but pretends that he got injured himself. That’s a yellow card when you stop writhing around, Sergio.

Pazzini looks surprised when the ref calls him for a foul, but he does it wrong. Put your hands together in a praying mannerism Giampaolo, that’s what all the great Italian strikers do.

Thought all along that Milan were doing a great impression of last year’s Chelsea team, but wasn’t sure if they had it in them to score.

Turns out they did, and it’s Tottenham reject Kevin-Prince Boateng. It’s a free kick for Milan, Barca are slow to react to the short pass and from a rebound, the Ghanaian fires in left footed. Trevor Steven can’t see the obvious handball by Zapata to set up the goal; instead he’s looking at possible offsides and sees nothing wrong with it.

Clash of heads between Pazzini and Puyol; the Italian is back on but Puyol is getting a massive plaster stuck onto his forehead.

The 19 year old Niang comes on and beasts Puyol to find El Shaarawy, who lobs a pass to Muntari to fire home. If people thought that Barcelona would just casually overturn a 1-0 deficit in the return leg, it’s not quite so straightforward now.

A shot of the cup tied Mario Balotelli enjoying proceedings, or maybe he’s just happy because he’s got a woman with him.

Maybe Barca just don’t like the San Siro; they got quite a beating by Inter here in 2010 as well.

There’s no real response from Barcelona, I don’t think they’d score even if they had all night.

So the post-mortem begins. Liam Brady comes out with the worst suggestion of how Barca might evolve their play; bring in a proper centre-forward like Ibrahimovic. I think we already know how such a thing works out, and it is not good. It would also upset Messi who wants to stay in the middle.

I guess this is the way it’s going to be for the next few weeks:” Barcelona have to rip up their style of play.” “They need a Plan B” and “YOU SEE, Ronaldo really IS better than Messi!!” Just imagine how people will react if they actually lose the tie.