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Kudos for Kaka after Barca draw

Updated: 2013-10-24 07:36
By Agence France-Presse in Milan ( China Daily)

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri heaped praise on Kaka after the Brazilian forward's impressive display on his return from injury contributed to a spirited 1-1 draw at home to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Injury-riddled Milan opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Robinho pounced on a defensive error to hold off Gerard Pique and beat Victor Valdes in the visitor's goal after a nice one-two with Kaka.

Lionel Messi knotted the score in the 23rd minute and despite being a thorn in the side of the Milan defense throughout, the Rossoneri weathered the storm at a packed San Siro to secure a precious share of the spoils.

Having spent the past month looking nervously at his casualty list, Allegri welcomed the result against a Barcelona side which won the title in 2011 and has made it to the past two semifinals.

"I'm happy with our overall performance. Mistakes are part of the game and conceding a goal against Barcelona is always to be expected," said Allegri.

But he had a special mention for Kaka, who returned from a month-long injury layoff in a 1-0 league win over Udinese on Saturday to produce a display that Allegri said should serve as an example.

"Kaka tonight showed the champion he is, not just in terms of his technical ability," said the coach.

"He played an intelligent game. He was an example for the rest of the side.

"But I want to offer my compliments to the entire team. We had to be extra focused tonight, against a team like Barcelona you have to have eyes all over the pitch to keep track."

"We've still got Barca and Celtic away from home and Ajax at home, so we have to take things game by game. All of those games will be crucial for our qualification chances," he said.

Robinho missed a golden chance to put Milan ahead when he let the ball go past his legs following a cross from Kevin Constant as the Brazilian ran down on goal.

However, Barcelona ultimately dominated the second half and its failure to secure the win that would have virtually secured its place in the last 16 was largely down to Milan's astute defense.

Coach Gerardo Martino said: "It's a good point for us."

But the Spaniard was visibly frustrated. "If you look over the 90 minutes I think we deserved to take more from the game."

Allegri is now hoping Kaka, who moved to Milan on a free transfer from Barcelona's archrival Real Madrid, can be as inspirational at Nou Camp in the return matchup.