Massimiliano Allegri and his Rossoneri players were left wondering what could have been after Lionel Messi and Barcleona inflicted a 4-0 thumping on AC Milan at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night to win the two-game UEFA Champions League Round of 16 series 4-2 on aggregate. Allegri lamented M’Baye Niang’s near-miss that hit the post just moments before Messi scored a brilliant second goal to draw the series level before halftime.
"If Niang had scored, my choice would've been praised,” Allegri said, referring to his decision to start the 18-year-old ahead of the more experienced Robinho or Bojan Krkic. “Luck was with us in the first leg with that deflection into [Kevin-Prince] Boateng's path, this time it went against us with Niang hitting the upright."
Midfielder Mathieu Flamini said, “We can’t put all the blame on Niang. If he had scored, it would’ve been a different game, but this is football and you only get one chance."
Both Flamini and Allegri offered praise for Barca’s brilliant performance. “We tried to play, but it was so difficult for us today,” Flamini said. “Barcelona pressed high up the field and it was tough for us to emerge. They played very quick passing too and deserve to be complimented.” Allegri added: "Barcelona are the strongest side in the world. Messi and [Andres] Iniesta kept dribbling with such cool heads in stoppages ... Xavi was so sharp", he admitted.