Wednesday Evening Ticker: AC Milan upsets Barcelona, Jones equalizes for Schalke at Gala, and more

BY JUSTIN FERGUSON

For the first time in 133 matches, FC Barcelona has lost by a multi-goal margin.

The Spanish giants were shutout 2-0 by AC Milan in the first leg of their Round of 16 matchup in the Champions League, placing their quest for a treble in serious jeopardy.

The last time the runaway La Liga leaders lost a match by more than one goal, it was a 3-1 decision to Real Betis in the second leg of 2011’s Copa del Rey quarterfinals. It was a match Barcelona could afford to lose, entering with a 5-0 lead from the first leg.

Kevin-Prince Boateng controversially opened the scoring for a dominant Milan in the 57th minute, pouncing on a rebound that appeared to come off of the hand of Cristian Zapata. Barcelona defenders appealed for a handball as Boateng fired the ball past Victor Valdes.

Barcelona’s offense started creating more chances on goals than it had in the first half, but the Catalans were only able to register one shot on goal. Lionel Messi, who was neutralized by a tough Milan defense for the entire match, completely missed on his best chance of the evening in the 62nd minute, uncharacteristically skying a free kick.

Milan took advantage of Barcelona’s misses with nine minutes left in the match. Stephen El Shaarawy flicked a pass inside the box to a charging Sulley Muntari, who calmly finished off the impressive play from ten yards out. The hosts would hold strong for the final minutes of the match, securing a massive 2-0 lead for the trip to Camp Nou in three weeks.

Here are some more stories to wrap up your Wednesday:

JONES EQUALIZES FOR SCHALKE AT GALATASARAY

Jermaine Jones spoiled the Champions League return for new Galatasaray signings Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder, giving his struggling side momentum and a key road goal in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw.

Burak Yilmaz put the home side up in spectacular fashion just 12 minutes into the match. The Turkish forward flicked a pass with his heel over Schalke’s Benedikt Howedes before slotting a powerful shot past Timo Hildebrand for the goal.

Despite receiving a first half yellow card that will keep him out of the second leg, Jones knocked in a crucial equalizer right before the halftime whistle. Jefferson Farfan broke through on goal after a bad Galatasaray giveaway, laying it off to a wide open Jones for the finish.

The second half of the match turned out to be less dramatic than the shot-filled first. Schalke appeared to have a legitimate case for a handball penalty in the 53rd minute, but it was waved off by referee William Collum. Yilmaz was denied of a late winner thanks to an excellent tip save by Hildebrand.

The two sides will meet again in three weeks at the Veltins Arena.

AFCON REFEREE APOLOGIZES FOR CONTROVERSIAL SEMIFINAL

A Tunisian referee that came under heavy criticism for decisions he made in the AFCON semifinal between Ghana and Burkina Faso apologized for his poor refereeing on Wednesday.

Slim Jedidi awarded an early controversial penalty, ruled out a potential winning goal and  sent off a player for simulation–a decision that was later overturned–during the January match.

“I made mistakes during that game,” Jedidi said. “I don’t know how and why but I later realised I committed lots of blunders. I did not see things I was supposed to see and I misinterpreted a number of decisions.

“I’m very sorry and I wish to express my apology to all those affected by my substandard conduct during that meeting.”

Jedidi called rumors that he may have been bribed by Ghanian representatives “baseless”, saying that anything wrong that happened during the match were purely mistakes.

QUICK KICKS

Last-place Bundesliga club Gruether Furth fired manager Mike Buskens, who led the club to its first ever appearance in the German top flight. (REPORT)

The Premier League says it is still aiming for goal-line technology to be ready for the start of next season. (REPORT)

Liverpool’s Fabio Borini is out and Martin Skrtel is doubtful for Thursday’s Europa League match with Zenit. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? How do you think the second leg of the AC Milan-Barcelona matchup will go? Think this draw might spark a turnaround for Schalke?

Share your comments below.

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12 Responses to Wednesday Evening Ticker: AC Milan upsets Barcelona, Jones equalizes for Schalke at Gala, and more

  1. chris says:

    Russia is stepping its game up. Lots of young talent in that league. Going to make the champions much more interesting in the future

  2. JustinV says:

    ***SPOILER****

    us u-20 advance to 1/4s as ticos beat haiti 1-0

    ***END SPOILER****

    anyone see a score on the nicaragua v cuba game?

  3. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I’ll grant that it’s something of an upset, but I think some people are over-blowing the magnitude of Milan beating Barca. Milan, one of the most storied clubs in the world, winning the home leg in the round of sixteen is hardly stop-the-presses stuff.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      think it’s more people not actually watching the two teams lately. milan are hitting their stride, and barca has really dropped off. this is not the barca of last season (or even the first half of this season). this game was always going to be a lot closer than it was ‘supposed to be’.

  4. Artie Armstrong says:

    Alexi Lalas is on Colbert right now as an expert on the match-fixing scandal…

  5. alabamafutbol says:

    Also interesting on the Costa Rica-Haiti game: Haiti was the better team, had far more clear-cut chances, and hit the post 3 times. Desperately unlucky not to get a result. Maybe it isn’t time to lose hope with the U-20s just yet, that Haiti team that gave us fits looks like it was a darn good team

  6. Becks says:

    What makes this astounding shutout by a “dominant Milan” so astounding, you ask?  Perhaps it is the fact that their swarming impenetrable defense held the Catalan giants to only one shot on goal. That’s right.  One. Shot. On goal.  And isn’t Messi on that most potent of potent offenses?  Rendering the world’s greatest player, ever, essentially useless…no small feat.  Or perhaps it’s that this is a brand new, young Italian team, just hitting their stride.  After jettisoning 13 top players, including Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Pato, Cassano, and old guard Seedorf, Nesta, Gattuso, and Inzaghi, they lost 5 of the first 8 games this season.  Their worst start to a scudetto in 70 years.  Barcelona, on the other hand, has been playing together since they were in diapers, with the majority of the team growing up together in the Barca youth system, giving them an almost telepathic understanding of each other that unequivocally what makes them so great.  They know which way each other are going with their eyes closed.  Even Sir Alex Furgeson said he’s never seen so many players consistently play together.  Can’t wait for the Camp Nou. Forza Milan.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      not sure if you’re responding to my and michael’s comments above, but i don’t think we disagree too much.

      it was pretty much perfect defending, combined with lethal finishing, and it was very impressive, except for the fact that it’s disappointing seeing a historically world-class team like milan sitting all 11 around their own 18 almost all game. but it’s barca, so i don’t really blame them. tactically, milan was flawless.

      i was just saying that anyone who had been watching the two teams recently shouldn’t be *that* surprised at the scoreline. here’s hoping that milan can pull it off at the camp nou.

  7. Good Jeremy says:

    So does the ref have to give back his bribe money as part of the apology?

  8. MiamiAl says:

    You know Klinsmann was smiling when Jermaine Jones scored.