UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE | Barcelona 3-3 Inter : Nerazzuri very close to qualifying for round of 16

Last Updated on 13/10/2022 by

Inter entered the lion’s den and emerged triumphant, having achieved its goals. Okay, pretty much. In one of the most action-packed Champions League group stage matches in recent memory, the Nerazzurri and Barca traded blows until the game ended 3-3 all.

However, a draw is a fantastic result for Simone Inzaghi’s team, who displayed everything you’d want from Inter in a crucial situation and then some. Inter wouldn’t be Inter without some sort of gaffe, in this case Kristjan Asllani’s decision to shoot in stoppage time rather than a pass to a wide-open Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

pic @inter twitter

Only three changes were made by each manager from the previous week: Denzel Dumfries and Edin Dzeko replaced Matteo Darmian and Joaquin Correa, respectively, while Gerard Pique took the place of Andreas Christensen for the hosts. Samir Handanovic’s reign was further marked by the decision to start Andre Onana in goal for the third time in a row.

Barca made a strong first impression and amassed a tonne of possession, but Mkhitaryan’s header clearance off the line from a corner provided the team with its best opportunity. But Inter came the closest to scoring first. In the 16th minute, a sliding Edin Dzeko sent a Calhanoglu free kick off the crossbar and down onto the goalline but not past it. Both Lautaro and Skriniar failed to put the rebound on goal.

On a counterattack in the 29th minute, Denzel Dumfries was the next to test Ter Stegen, but despite having a clear shot at goal, he sent his effort straight at the German keeper. Soon after, Onana mishandled a long-range Dembele shot into the middle of the box, almost making Inter regret its missed opportunities. Fortunately, he recovered in time to stop Lewandowski from converting. Barca finally scored after a few more half-chance attempts, and Dembele was the star of the show once more as he headed in a cross from Sergi Roberto at point-blank range.

The first half had become incredibly one-sided, with Barcelona controlling 62% of the ball and outshooting Inter 15 (3 on target) to 3. (2 on target). The game was much more even in terms of quality chances, but Inter lacked the right combination of luck and clinicality.

Another story was promised for the second half. Five minutes after the half, Inter unexpectedly equalised thanks to a deft Alessandro Bastoni cross and an even defter Nicolo Barella finish.

After the equaliser, the game became more open and neither side was able to control the situation, which made for a fantastic spectacle. On the hour mark, Lautaro nearly gave Inter the lead, but Ter Stegen quickly recovered from the Argentine’s low header and cleared the ball off the line. El Toro, however, was not to be kept down for long and ended his goalless streak in the 63rd minute.

After falling behind, Xavi immediately went to his bench and brought on players like Ansu Fati, Frenkie De Jong, and Franck Kessie. Three wingbacks were used in some sort of 5-4-1 formation by Inzaghi in response. However, Lewandowski’s unexpected equaliser in the 82nd minute proved that it wouldn’t be enough to keep Barca out for good.

But the drama was far from over, and in the 89th, Inter managed to retake the lead. Lewandowski resurfaced in the 92nd minute, but the Nerazzurri were unable to hold on to a victory that would have guaranteed their place in the Round of 16.

Even more chaos ensued during the final four minutes of stoppage time, highlighted by a strong Ter Stegen save on Asllani in a one-on-one situation, despite Mkhiatrayan being waiting with his feet wide open in case the Albanian had passed.

When all was said and done at the Camp Nou, the final score was Barca 3, Inter 3, a fair outcome that makes Barca’s path to the round of 16 that much more difficult. Despite having 62% of the possession and outshooting Inter, the hosts narrowly missed out on the expected goal differential, and with a little bit more luck, Inter might have put an end to Barca’s hopes right there.

A barnstorming six-goal thriller between Barcelona and Inter was produced at Camp Nou as a result of both teams taking advantage of each other’s defensive weaknesses. The improbable 45 minutes of football will go down in Champions League lore. Gaining a point keeps Barca’s deficit to their opponents at three points, but with only two games remaining, it will be challenging to overtake the Nerazzurri. For Inzaghi’s men, who fought valiantly and were clinical on the counter, it’s a case of what might have been at least avoiding exiting at the group stage once more.

Before facing Viktoria Plzen at home in game five of the group stage, Inter has two weeks to prepare. The Nerazzurri are currently in second place with 7 points, 5 points behind Bayern but 3 points ahead of Barcelona given the head-to-head advantage. A victory would guarantee them a spot in the next round. Salernitana will play next at the San Siro on Sunday morning.

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