Review: Inter – Barcelona

Review: Inter – Barcelona
MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06: Mauro Emanuel Icardi (L) of FC Internazionale celebrates his goal during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Internazionale and FC Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on November 6, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Two late goals by Malcom and Mauro Icardi cancelled each other out as Inter and Barcelona drew 1-1 in Italy.

Inter starting lineup:
Samir Handanovic, Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan de Vrij, Milan Skriniar, Kwadwo Asamoah, Matias Vecino, Marcelo Brozovic, Radja Nainggolan, Matteo Politano, Ivan Perisic, Mauro Icardi
Barcelona starting lineup:
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Arthur, Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez

The first real attempt on goal came in the 12th minute through Luis Suarez. His shot from the edge of the box flew over the bar. Ten minutes later, he did it again, only this time, the ball whisked past the post. Croatian teammates Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic exchanged shots soon afterwards on what was a rainy night in Milan. Inter’s top form didn’t show in the first half, as the visiting Catalans were dominating possession and controlling the tempo of the game. Luis Suarez had his third chance of the half and the best one up to that point in the 42nd minute, when a rebound bounced straight to his feet. The Uruguayan’s quick strike was saved by Handanovic.

With no additional time, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak blew the half-time whistle. Inter relied on counter attacks and were patiently waiting for their opportunity, while Barca were simply playing their regular, recognizable game.

The opening to the second period was far more energetic. Inter were willing to throw more men forward, which left plenty of space for both teams to create. Perisic was twice left unmarked on the flank and threatened with dangerous crosses, whereas on the other side. Coutinho dribbled past a couple of defenders and fired a left-footed shot straight at the keeper. In the 60th minute, Barcelona had a 3-on-2 counter attack which ended with Rakitic having an excellent scoring chance. As was the case on previous occasions during the game, the Barcelona player hit Handanovic and the ball went out into a corner kick.

After Handanovic blocked yet another Coutinho attempt, Spalleti made his first change, replacing Nainggolan with Borja Valero. Politano had Inter’s best chance in the 65th minute, when Pique missed on a risky sliding challenge, leaving a lot of space on the left side of the pitch. Perisic once again took the ball and fired a perfect cross. Politano came flying in from midfield, but his header was not on the required level and missed the net. The home side was coming on strongly. In the 73rd minute, Valverde took off Arthur and replaced him with Arturo Vidal, just as he did during the weekend.

As the minutes ticked down, Valverde’s men were executing the game plan, holding onto the ball as much as they could. The next two subs came in the 82nd minute, when Malcom came on for Dembele and Antonio Candreva was introduced in place of Matteo Politano. Then, a moment of inspiration by Coutinho, whose fantastic dribble got him past Vecino, opened the door for Malcom. The Brazilian took the ball, made a couple of dummy moves and struck the ball towards goal. Handanovic’s view was obstructed by his defenders and reacted late. The ball went into the net, to the disbelief of everyone in attendance. 1-0 Barcelona.

The lead didn’t last long. Confusion in Barcelona’s defense allowed the ball to come to Inter’s most dangerous threat – Mauro Icardi. The Argentinian took this time next to Sergi Roberto and managed to push the ball between ter Stegen’s legs to tie the score.

That was it. In an interesting game at Giuseppe Meazza, Inter and Barcelona shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

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