Milan's Africa-influenced 2-0 win was not the first time the Rossoneri received a boost from a Ghana-born player against Barcelona.
AC Milan built its modern reputation with the help of the Dutch trio Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco Van Basten. Now, the club's Ghana Connection is paying off.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari provided the goals in a 2-0 win over FC Barcelona in the first leg of a Round of 16 Champions League match Wednesday.
Four other Milanisti with African roots also participated in the upset: Kevin Constant (French/Guinean), Stephan El Shaarawy (Italian/Egyptian), M'Baye Niang (French/Senegalese) and Bakaye Traore (French/Malian). And when Milan meets Inter in a Serie A derby Sunday, it will be counting on the return of Mario Balotelli, born in Sicily of Ghanaian parentage, who is ineligible to perform in the Champions League.
Milan was a strong underdog in this match -- as it was against Barcelona in the 1994 Champions final in Athens. Then, Milan crushed Barcelona, 4-0, and Accra-born Marcel Desailly scored the final goal in the 58th minute.
Boateng started in all four Milan-Barcelona matches in last season's Champions League, two resulting in Barcelona wins, two in ties. Muntari, a starter for Inter's 2010 Champions League winners, also had never defeated Barcelona before Wednesday. Muntari performed for Inter in two draws and a defeat against Barcelona in the '09-10 Champions League campaign, but was on the bench for a 3-1 Inter victory.