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UEFA Champions League

San Siro (Giuseppe Meazza) (ATT 76,502) 20th October 2004 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: G Poll

AC Milan AC Milan vs Barcelona Barcelona

Sheva strike sinks Barca

By Stuart Vincent.   Last Updated: 20/10/04 7:52pm

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A first-half Andrei Shevchenko goal was the difference between the sides as Milan beat Barcelona 1-0 to go top of Group F.

Both sides had their fair share of chances but it was Milan's superior first-half performance that proved crucial.

Clarence Seedorf had an early chance to put Milan ahead on five minutes but failed to keep the ball down and fired over the bar.

Andrei Shevchenko could have put Milan ahead on 12 minutes but he was denied by a good save from Victor Valdes after a through-ball from Kaka.

Henrik Larsson had Barca's best chance of the first half on 20 minutes when Samuel Eto'o found him in space, only for the former Celtic striker to hit the crossbar with a left footed shot from outside the area.

The breakthrough came on the half-hour mark when Cafu made a good run down the right flank and whipped the ball into the centre of the area, where Shevchenko leapt above the Barca defence to give Milan the lead.

Barca tried to get back into the game with Eto'o and Ronaldinho continuing to probe the Milan defence but to no avail.

As half time approached, Ronaldinho had two opportunities to level for the Spanish side but was off target both times.

Milan emerged from the break looking to pick up where they left off and Kaka and Filippo Inzaghi both had shots that signalled their intentions.

Shevchenko nearly stretched Milan's lead on 55 minutes but his long-range effort faded wide.

The game then turned into a battle of the midfield, with both sides creating numerous chances.

Deco found space on the edge of the Milan area but his shot was weak and failed to trouble Nelson Dida in the Milan goal.

Ronaldinho unleashed a fearsome shot from well outside the area on 67 minutes but Dida was equal to it, diving to his right to push the ball away for a corner.

The match continued at a great pace, with Barca creating the better chances, largely thanks to the energetic and determined Ronaldinho.

The Brazilian then linked up well with Xavi, both players showing great skill to suck in the Milan defence to create space for Juliano Belletti, whose right-footed shot shaved the right-hand upright.

Second-half substitute Andres Iniesta had a great chance to level the match for Barca in the final minutes, only to hit the woodwork when one on one with Dida.



UEFA Champions League Group A

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1 Atletico Madrid 6 13
2 Juventus 6 10
3 Olympiakos FC 6 9
4 Malmo FF 6 3

UEFA Champions League Group B

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1 Real Madrid 6 18
2 Basel 6 7
3 Liverpool 6 5
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UEFA Champions League Group C

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2 Bayer Leverkusen 6 10
3 Zenit St. Petersburg 6 7
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UEFA Champions League Group D

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1 Borussia Dortmund 6 13
2 Arsenal 6 13
3 Anderlecht 6 6
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UEFA Champions League Group E

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1 Bayern Munich 6 15
2 Manchester City 6 8
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UEFA Champions League Group F

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1 Barcelona 6 15
2 Paris St Germain 6 13
3 Ajax 6 5
4 Apoel Nicosia 6 1

UEFA Champions League Group G

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1 Chelsea 6 14
2 Schalke 6 8
3 Sporting Lisbon 6 7
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1 FC Porto 6 14
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3 Athletic Bilbao 6 7
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