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MILAN

Messi goal rescues Barça at the San Siro

Barcelona remained top of Group H after their draw at the San Siro against AC Milan kept the Spanish champions just ahead of the Italians with a total of seven points.

Messi goal rescues Barça at the San Siro
Lionel Messi levelled in the 23rd minute. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Injury-hit 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 visitors' goal after a nice one-two with compatriot Kaka.

Lionel Messi levelled in the 23rd minute but despite being a thorn in the side of the Milan defence 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 that won the title in 2011 and has made it to the past two semi-finals.

"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 lay-off in a 1-0 league win over Udinese on Saturday to produce a display which Allegri says should serve as an example.

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

"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."

At the halfway stage Milan remain second in Group H on five points with a two-point deficit to Barca, but with Celtic now just two points adrift after the Scottish champions' 2-0 win at home to Ajax.

Milan next face Barcelona away on November 6, visit Celtic nearly three weeks later and wrap up their bid for a place in the last 16 knockout phase by hosting Ajax on December 11.

On paper, the Italians appear to hold the edge over Celtic, who have yet to visit Ajax, host Milan and then visit Barcelona having succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at home to the Spanish giants.

Allegri, however, refuses to believe the runner-up place that offers a place in the last 16 is guaranteed.

"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 added.

Robinho missed a golden chance to put Milan ahead when he bizarrely 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 their failure to secure the win that would have virtually secured their place in the last 16 was largely down to Milan's astute defence.

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," he added.

Allegri now hopes Kaka, who moved to Milan on a free transfer from Barcelona's arch rivals Real Madrid, can be as inspirational at the Nou Camp.

"We all know how much Kaka can contribute to this side," added the Italian.

"This is a really precious point for us. Now we will go to the Nou Camp looking to play and hope we can take something from the game."

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ENVIRONMENT

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.

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