- Barcelona held to goalless draw by AC Milan in first leg of Champions League quarterfinal
- Defending champions fail to capitalize on possession at the San Siro
- Bayern Muncih take big step towards semifinals with 2-0 win at Marseille
- Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben score in each half at Stade Velodrome
A resolute defensive display by AC Milan denied Barcelona a crucial away goal as the first leg of the European Champions League quarterfinal ended goalless at the San Siro on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola's defending champions dominated possession in both halves but couldn't find a way through Milan's defenses which were pushed to the limits at times.
The Spanish visitors were denied what looked like a clear penalty in the first half when Alexis Sanchez was brought down by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, but the referee remained unmoved.
Lionel Messi, scorer of 55 goals in all competitions this season, did find the net in the 17th minute but was adjudged offside by the referee's assistant.
Chances came and went for Barca, with perhaps the best of the second half falling to Sanchez. But his efforts to poke the ball home after Messi's shot was parried were in vain as left back Luca Antonini slid in to produce a heroic goal-saving tackle.
The Italian league leaders also had their moments in front of goal but squandered chances to take the lead, with Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both failing to find the net.
"I take it as a compliment that we have got this result, the team had a good game and I think it is a good result," veteran Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf said, AFP reported.
"A goal could be enough in the Nou Camp and we will have more of our players available. If we manage to play well we have chances to progress."
The two sides reconvene at the Nou Camp next Tuesday, with the winners playing either Chelsea or Benfica in the semifinal.
Meanwhile at the Stade Velodrome, 2010 finalists Bayern Munich took a giant step towards the semis with a 2-0 win over Marseille.
Goals in either half from striker Mario Gomez and Dutch winger Arjen Robben sealed a satisfying result for the Bundesliga's second-placed team, whose Allianz Arena stadium will host the May 19 final.
Gomez opened the scoring in the 44th minute after his weak shot found its way under the body of goalkeeper Elinton Andrade. It was the Germany striker's 11th goal of the competition this season, putting him one short of Messi's leading tally.
Dutch winger Robben scored the visitors' second away goal firing home from six yards in the 70th minute.
"We realized our objective by winning here without conceding any goals. Marseille play emotional football, so it was very important for us to get this result tonight," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
A semifinal tie against, in all probability, Real Madrid awaits the winners of this quarterfinal tie, which also concludes next Tuesday.