Soccer: Milan boss Allegri hailed for 'caging' Messi
Serie A giants in strong position after beating Barca 2-021 February, 13:42
Allegri ignored club owner Silvio Berlusconi's advice to put a man marker on the Argentina forward in the Champions League last 16 first leg at the San Siro, but managed to make sure he was always closed down whenever he received the ball.
The Catalan side dominated possession, hogging it over 70% of the time, but Milan's organised defending rendered it toothless and the home side ended up having more shots on goal.
Second-half goals by Ghanaians Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari mean that Milan can afford to lose by one goal in the return leg, or two if they manage to score, and still reach the quarterfinals.
"He didn't have man marking but he did create a cage," read Thursday's La Gazzetta dello Sport, giving the coach eight of 10 for the match.
"Allegri fenced Messi in. There was always a Milan player on the passing lines for Leo. "That was the tip of the iceberg of a tactical masterpiece.
The mortification of the god of ball possession". Milan Chief Executive Adriano Galliani also gave Allegri a slap on the back.
"The cage on Messi worked," Galliani said Thursday.
"Allegri got the match right and the players interpreted his instructions with extraordinary character. "We'll see what happens in the return. Now we have to go to the Camp Nou and it'll be very difficult".