Not even dressed in the league leader’s jersey did Barcelona manage to avoid punishment from Europe. He gives both the clothing and the rival, the stage, the year or the list of players present at each Barca outing of the Champions League. Defeats happen non-stop because Barca sometimes can’t, sometimes they don’t know how and often they win because of the opponent’s superiority or because of their own impotence, as happened at the San Siro. The frustration was capitalized because the Barcelona fans also felt mistreated by the referee – he annulled a goal against Pedri after consulting the Var and the longus against a penalty from Dumfries – and because Inter is not exactly the leader of Italy. The neroazzurroin any case, they had less fear and more resources than Barca.
Andre Onana, Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni, de Vrij (Acerbi, min. 76), Dimarco (Denzel Dumfries, min. 76), Barella, Darmian (Robin Gosens, min. 76), Mkhitaryan, Calhanoglu (Kristjan Asllani, min. 84 ), Joaquin Correa (Dzeko, min. 56) and Lautaro Martinez
Ter Stegen, Marcos Alonso (Alex Balde, min. 63), Sergi Roberto, A. Christensen (Pique, min. 57), Eric Garcia, Pedri, Busquets, Gavi (Kessie Franck, min. 83), Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 63)
goals 1-0 min. 46: Calhanoglu.
Referee Slavko Vincić
Yellow cards Barella (min. 21), Busquets (min. 59), Calhanoglu (min. 69), Lautaro Martinez (min. 75), Gavi (min. 75), Alessandro Bastoni (min. 87) and Andre Onana (min. 95 )
Lewandowski did not score and Barca lost. Inter also knows that the Catalans live off the Pole’s goals and did not let the center forward meet Onana. Lewandowski was subjected to a prison mark allowed by the referee Vincic. No one accompanied the striker, neither forwards nor defenders nor midfielders, and Barcelona was left to zero just as it happened in Munich and against Rayo. Xavi’s mediation didn’t work either.
Both coaches opted for two flexible and versatile formations, Barca’s in defense due to the presence of the versatile Sergi Roberto and Marcos Alonso and Inter’s in attack due to the midfielder roster —Barella, Mikitharian and Calhanoglu— and forwards —the dynamic Correa he played for Dzeko alongside Lautaro. Inzaghi’s plan had a trick and it worked much better than Xavi’s. The Italian coach had camouflaged players with the soul of forwards who destabilized Barcelona in midfield. The azulgrana never knew what to do with the ball, they attacked badly and defended worse, very well controlled by Inter.
The azulgrana played from side to side and the neroazzurri to shoot out as soon as they conquer the ball, more selective and vertical and also damaging due to the mobility of their wingers and the arrival of easy-shot midfielders like Calhanoglu. Inter’s cons had more dynamite than Barca’s regrettable possessions. The azulgrana lacked rhythm and precision, they were not very aggressive in their pressure, they were more concerned with withdrawing than deploying and the scares occurred in Ter Stegen’s area while nobody approached that of former Barcelona player Onana.
Dembele, the footballer who absorbed Barca’s game, did not unbalance or finish a single play, and nobody connected with Lewandowski. Inter fed on Barcelona’s constant turnovers. The azulgrana quickly caught on to Pedri’s surprising inaccuracies. The player from Tenerife was not focused and the Catalans immediately went on to live on the limit, lucky in the offside plays, scared by the verticality of Inzaghi’s squad. Inter was compact and brave against a Barcelona that was tiptoeing through the game, excessively cautious in the intimidating San Siro.
Xavi’s team was limited to waiting for a goal to be scored against the clamor of San Siro. In the absence of Dzeko and Lautaro, it was Calhanoglu who scored with a shot from outside the area that he had already rehearsed as soon as the match began, to the complacency of Barca. Successful in the first, Ter Stegen could do nothing with Calhanoglu’s second shot. Although the match demanded Xavi’s intervention, the azulgrana were consuming the minutes with the same players and the same game that had led them to 1-0. The coach changed the injured Christensen for Pique out of obligation before bringing on Ansu and Balde.
The azulgrana were activated little by little and woke up with a shot at Dembele’s post. The Frenchman did not stop striking and caused an error by Onana that Pedri finished off. The goal, however, was annulled after Var’s intervention due to Ansu’s previous hand in the clash with the Inter goalkeeper. The azulgrana referred from then on to the referee more than to Onana. In the absence of a shot on goal, they also demanded a maximum penalty for hands by Dumfries as obvious as Ansu’s and, however, deserved a different treatment —there was no intervention from the Var— to the joy of San Siro.
The poor refereeing performance does not exempt the azulgrana from a poor performance against a rival that is no better and that knew how to cheat the contest to win, such as Inter. Despite the fact that the results of the League endorsed his career, Barca was paralyzed when they returned to Europe and they no longer have a margin for error: they face three finals that they need to win to continue in the damn Champions League.
You can follow EL PAIS Sports in Facebook Y Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Source: EL PAIS