Barcelona: Barcelona have filed a complaint to UEFA about the state of the San Siro pitch after their 0-0 draw with AC Milan in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. The defending champions filed the complaint late on Wednesday after the match in which their players lost their footing and kicked up clumps of turf from the ground.
After Wednesday's match, coach Pep Guardiola complained about the pitch, saying that "we adapt to everything, we come and we play. But it is difficult when the pitch is in this state". However, he simultaneously refused to blame the dreadful San Siro pitch and controversial refereeing for their failure to score. "If UEFA wants teams to put on a spectacle, they have to overcome problems like this," Guardiola said. "I don't think it's [AC] Milan or Inter Milan's problem, I think the problem is with the stadium."
Barcelona players felt that they should have had a penalty early in the match when forward Alexis Sanchez appeared to be tripped by Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Their players also struggled to keep their footing on a San Siro pitch where huge divots were frequently thrown up. Lionel Messi slipped when taking a free kick in a dangerous position early in the first half, slicing his shot for the ball to bounce out for a goal kick.
Barcelona players lost their footing and kicked up clumps of turf from the ground during their match at the San Siro.
"To win the Champions League, you have to overcome a lot of things, that's what makes some sportsmen better than others. Things happen and you have to overcome them. We have won a lot in the last four years, but we have also drawn and lost matches. After a draw or defeat, we have never complained about a refereeing decision or the pitch, maybe we have done so after winning but not after a draw or defeat."
The second leg will be held next Tuesday at Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium. And despite playing at home and managing only 38 per cent of possession, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was delighted with Wednesday's 0-0 draw and, above all, the commitment of his side, and is confident his side can sneak an away goal next week.
"I've always said that I'm lucky enough to train a great group of professionals and even the players who aren't on the pitch, even the ones who watch from the stands, they're always ready when they're called upon," he said.