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Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard admitted his team were made to battle by Milan as they earned their place in their first Champions League final in 12 years.

Barca prevailed 1-0 on aggregate after a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

“We did the job, achieved our objective and we are all very happy for reaching the final,” said the Dutchman.

“I think the team worked really well. We knew we would have to suffer against Milan because they are a great team with some great players. The players fought for every minute and were focused throughout.

“It was an interesting game and both teams played quite well. We had our chances but we always had to pay attention to their players. In the second half they had to press harder for the goal. It was a very hard-earned victory.”

Milan looked to have taken the lead when Andriy Shevchenko headed the ball into the net 20 minutes from time. But the Ukraine striker’s effort was ruled out after he made minimal contact with Barcelona centre-back Carles Puyol.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said he could not understand why Shevchenko’s goal was disallowed.

“Shevchenko’s goal was absolutely legal,” he said. “He jumped and hardly touched Puyol when he headed it.

“It was a very important game and very close, either side could have gone through. The tie was always in the balance and we were close to the final.”

But Ancelotti, a former team mate of Rijkaard’s at Milan, was full of admirastion for Barcelona.

“Milan played as we always do but the luck went with Barcelona this time,” he added. “Barca deserve to be in the final, they have a great squad and played well.”

Barcelona will now meet Arsenal in the final in Paris on May 17.

“I think Arsenal have done a great job in getting to the final. They are a very good team with a lot of youngsters. They deserve to reach the final and seriously strong opponents,” added Rijkaard.

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