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Barcelona blame San Siro pitch for stalemate, lodge complaint with UEFA

Barca blame slippery San Siro surface for 0-0 stalemate with Milan in Champions League quarters; lodge official complaint with UEFA

Barcelona on Thursday said they had complained to UEFA over the state of the pitch at the San Siro, after their goalless Champions League quarter-final match with AC Milan.

Players from both teams were struggling throughout the game with the pitch and Barcelona's Lionel Messi even slipped as he took a free-kick.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and several of his players including Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Javier Mascherano complained about the condition of the pitch after the match.

"FC Barcelona has lodged a complaint with UEFA over the state of the pitch at the Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) stadium during the Champions League match," the Catalan giants said on their web site.

Messi
Players were struggling throughout the game with the pitch
and Barcelona's Lionel Messi even slipped as he took a free-kick. Pic/AFP


After Wednesday's match, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola complained about the pitch, saying that "we adapt to everything, we come and we play. But it's a problem for the quality of the occasion. It's difficult when the pitch is in this state".

Barcelona brought up issue during the post-game meeting with UEFA representative Mikalai Varabyov, and the Bulgarian official included the formal complaint in his report of the game.

Varabyov has submitted his report to European football's governing body, and UEFA is expected to ask Milan for an explanation.

The match ended 0-0, making the return leg at the Camp Nou next Tuesday finely poised.  

Chances were at a premium as the two sides adopted a largely safety-first policy to ensure they would go into the return match with everything still to play for.

Barcelona enjoyed their usual two-thirds majority of possession but Milan played in a controlled and calm manner, and even created the best chances on the counter-attack.

The visitors were denied what they thought was a penalty when Christian Abbiati brought down Alexis Sanchez but referee Jonas Eriksson ignored their claims.

There were times during the first period in which Massimiliano Allegri's men looked capable of repeating Inter Milan's famous 3-1 semi-final, home leg victory over Barca in the same stadium two years ago. But by the second half Milan's attacking threat had all but dried up and Barca seemed unable or unwilling to commit enough men forward to break down their stubborn hosts.

Instead, a close second leg awaits in Spain next Tuesday where Milan will feel confident that progress could hinge on the scoring of an away goal, which Barca failed to do here.

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