Barcelona and Inter gave the most dramatic concert of this European season. Even in the final 3:3, not everything that happened is reflected.
The guests immediately gave the ball to Barca and tried to catch it on the counterattacks. The Xavi team accepted the conditions, generated moment by moment, although they also received in return – but Marc-Andre ter Stegen was steadily helping out.
At the end of the first half, Barcelona scored: Ousmane Dembele from a Roberto pass for the first time since 10 September.
Inter woke up in the second half. In the 50th minute, Nicolò Barella caught the ball in the penalty area after a graceful pass from Bastoni. And Gerard Pique in the episode with the goal pretended to be in control, although in reality it was not close to that. Inter punished.
The hosts did not quite like the draw: Barça needed to win in order to seize control of the situation and count on second place in the group.
If Barcelona were defeated, they would immediately fly to the Uefa League – and Inter would ride the Catalans on a roller coaster.
❌ 63’ – Barça is out. Tried Lautaro Martinez: the Argentine took the chest smartly and did not leave a chance to Eric Garcia. A blow – and from two bars the ball rolled into the goal.
✅ 82 ‘- Barca in the game. Lewandowski was the first on the ball and hit the bottom. Andre Onana was prevented by a rebound from Bastoni, but what a difference – 2:2 looked more or less in this scenario!
❌ 89’ – Barça are out again. Now Lautaro caught hold of the removal of Onana on the right flank and gave the thinnest pass into the penalty area to Robin Gosens.
The German was ahead of Frank Kessie, flashed Ter Stegen and brought Inter closer to victory again.
✅ 92 ‘- Barça retains chances for the playoffs.
Lewandowski is now above everyone in the penalty area, scored a header. The Catalans equalized and exhaled a little, although a victory was needed.
Xavi’s team rushed forward with the last of their strength – and paid the price. Already on the 94th, Lautaro brought midfielder Kristjan Asllani one on one. It seemed that Martinez did everything – score or give to an empty net, but Aslani hit Ter Stegen directly. After the game, the 20-year-old boy could not find a place for himself.
Barça still have a chance – but too much has to add up.
With a victory, Inter would have already reached the playoffs, now they need to beat Victoria or Bayern in the last rounds. The Milanese have the right to lose: if the points are equal with Barça, they will be higher due to personal meetings.
“Having won, we would have left the group two rounds before the end, but we hope to give the fans this pleasure in the match against Victoria,” – summed up Simone Inzaghi.
What’s left for Barça? There is only one scenario:
• Beat both Victoria and Bayern;
• Expect Inter to never win another match. With two draws for the Italians, Barca will advance to the playoffs.
Even Xavi no longer believes that this is possible.
“If you don’t beat Inter at home, you don’t deserve to continue playing in the tournament,” – the head coach admitted. “We have a little hope, but the situation is not easy. We are putting the Champions League aside and focusing on La Liga.”
I am disappointed and angry. Last year, relegation didn’t hit us that hard. This year we are retiring because of our mistakes. And the Champions League doesn’t forgive them.”
Key changes to match content:
• While keeping the common elements (Barcelona’s possession, Inter’s counter-attacks), the duration of Barcelona’s pressure waves has been shortened. Now they were diluted with constant respite for Inter, some of which carried a serious threat. At the same time, inside their possessions, Barça was sharper than in the first match.
• In terms of chances, we’ve got a classic quantity versus quality match. 25 hits from Barça against 11 from Inter. Inter organized 5 clear scoring chances against 2 for Barça.
• Criticism through alternative match scenarios is a dubious genre, so I warn you in advance that the thesis is controversial. But for me, an indicator of Xavi’s coaching courage and maturity would be a squad without someone from the Dembele / Rafinha pair.
Now Barca needs not only Bayern’s help, but also Inter’s misfire against Victoria. The scenario where everything converges seems almost fantastic.