Inter Milan - Barcelona
Jose Mourinho's side have completed what was thought to be impossible, while some may complain about the bus ride Barcelona had to take, or the refereeing decisions which leaned towards Inter, it is plain that Inter Milan tactically outplayed Barcelona. While Barcelona tried to continue with their powerful 4-3-3, Inter Milan played a warped 4-2-1-3 which revolved around the Dutchman Sneijder.
Barcelona started well, Pedro grabbed the opener in the 19th minute sliding it past Julio Cesar from 12 yards out after some shabby defending from the nerazzurri. Although Barcelona tried to play their dominating possession style, they were imprecise and out of tune, and with time Inter Milan grabbed the equalizer after Sneijder finished well after Diego Milito layed it off for him. Wesley Sneijder was completely unmarked at the back post, and questions are to be asked about Pedro not covering Inter Milan's key player.
After halftime Inter Milan came out with determination, 3 minutes in, Thiago Motta nips the ball off of Messi, Inter build up well, and Maicon fumbles in the second. Barcelona continue to stumble through the match as the Inter Milan defense along with Thiago Motta and Cambiasso allowed nothing to be created, Zanetti kept Messi quiet and Zibra was invisible with Lucio and Samuel sticking to him like glue. Inter's third came after Sneijder was left unmarked (again by Pedro) at the back post, the Dutchman tried to header the ball in goal but failed miserably putting it wide for Diego Milito to header in successfully at the near post.
After Inter had secured the result, Barcelona decided to go all-out attack, with Pique acting as a striker, and Dani Alves being very dangerous in the box. As Barca tried to create chances, the closest they got was Pique's goal-bound shot blocked by Lucio, it would've surely been a goal for Barcelona but Lucio was unstoppable at the Inter defense. Sneijder had to slide tackle Dani Alves in the box, but it seemed like there was no contact, and Dani Alves was booked for simulation; Barca will surely look back at that asking for a penalty. Pique was also roughly taken down in the box, but it is disputable whether or not he had control of the ball.
In the end, Barcelona were sloppy while Inter played their best match of the season yet, the return leg will be one to watch.
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