Inter And Barcelona Play Out 1-1 Draw
Inter Milan scored a late equalizer to hold Barcelona to a stalemate at the San Siro on Tuesday. In a game that was high on entertainment but low on goals, Mauro Icardi’s 87th minute strike cancelled out Malcom’s 83rd minute opener. Even though the Catalans played their fifth straight game without their talisman Leo Messi, they seemed to be in good shape. Barça started really positively with a constant flurry of attacks. They bossed the ball as one would expect and were generally able to stop Inter’s limited opportunities. Luis Suárez and Philippe Coutinho looked especially lively for the visitors. Ivan Perisic seemed to be the hosts’ outlet.
In the first period Barcelona barely allowed Inter any time on the ball. The hosts were pegged back and Samir Handanovic was forced into a few good saves. Suarez was causing all sorts of problems for the defenders. Ousmane Dembele, who was preferred over Rafinha also created a few really good opportunities. In the second half however Barça lacked that cutting edge.
In the 81st minute Malcom came on for Dembele to freshen things up in attack. It was a substitution that paid dividends for Ernesto Valverde. Barely 2 minutes after Malcom came on, he scored the opening goal of the game. A piece of devastating skill from Coutinho got him away from De Vrij on the half line. He squared the ball to Malcom immediately after. Malcom then raided into the box and after a stepover to create space, took a snap shot which nestled into the bottom corner. It was a very emotional moment for the Brazilian winger as he scored his first goal for Barça.
Most teams would slow down or lose morale after conceding so late on but Inter kept up their energy. They tried constantly to find an equalizer. Luciano Spaletti’s men played a really physical game to try and win the ball back as soon as they could. Just four minutes after conceding however, Inter scored. Mauro Icardi slotted the ball away after some sloppy defending by Barcelona in an attempt to stop Vecino’s shot. After a couple of deflections the ball fell kindly for Icardi who put the ball through Ter Stegen’s legs from within 6 yards. Icardi had been relatively quiet all night until the goal. This was largely due to the lack of service.
Ultimately both sides came away with a vital point. The draw ensured Barcelona’s qualification into the Round of 16. They can win the group in two weeks time when they visit PSV. Inter can also ensure qualification when they face Spurs next time around.
Photo credit to teddy tunodo via Flickr