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Apr 29, 2010

FC Barcelona knocked out by Inter despite the victory. Aggregate Barca - 2, Inter - 3

FC Barcelona's dream came of defending their Champions League crown at the home of their rivals came to an end after being knocked out byt Italian Champion Inter Milan. Inter Milan, who were reduced to 10 men for almost an hour following the dismissal of Motta, held firm in defense. FC Barcelona's attack struggled to find a way past the dodged defense of Inter for most of the match. The last ten minutes lived to the expectation where we had Pique scoring an absolutely brilliant goal, Bojan missing a sitting header before and also had a disallowed goal from Bojan. The disallowed goal was a bit harsh and if that had stood we would have been heading to Bernabeu now. In the build up to the match I argued about the importance of deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation, FC Barcelona vs Inter Milan Preview. But Guardiola stuck to the 4-3-3 formatuion and against my wish he also started with Ibraahimovic. But there were quite some surprises in the starting eleven. We saw a new central defensive pairing last night, with Toure and Pique playing at the heart of defense. Milito played the left back role while Alves was in his ususal right back role. The midfield had Busquets, Keita and Xavi. Messi and Pedro completed the attacking line up with Ibrahimovic.

FC Barcelona struggled to break the Inter defense

From the start it was clear that Inter was more interested in defending the lead. Toure and Pique cut off any small sniff Inter had in the name of counter attack. But the real problem for Barca was breaking the Inter defense. Pique had requested the fans to create an electrifying atmosphere. I have to say that they obliged and created the most terrifying atmosphere. Our first chance came in the 22nd minute when Ibrahimovic chested down an excellent Alves cross to Xavi but he couldn't control the ball and was easily crowded out. In the 23rd minute Alves send another great cross but this time Pedro volleyed it just wide. we needed one of those chance to go in. In the 28th minute Motta was sent off for a second yellow after shoving his hand on Busquets face. Busquets definitely made a meal of it, but there is no doubting that it was a bookable offence. After that Inter moved into ultra defensive mode. I believe Guardiola let go off a chance to take the initiative at this particular juncture. He should have changed the formation to 3-4-3 with Alves playing in the midfield. In the 32nd minute the magician Messi produced a brilliant moment. He moved inside the Inter defense and then curled the ball on to the far left corner, but Julia Caesar produce the save of the Tournament to deny it. In the 39th minute Alves laid off the ball to Ibra after breaking the offside trap but Walter Samuel flunged himself and got the block on Ibrahimovic's shot.

Being still held to a goalless draw saw barca becoming desperate in the second half. The strategy was to try a series of long range shgot but it never worked. Around the hour mark Guardiola brought in Bojan and Jeffren for Ibrahimovic and Busquets. Then it looked like Guardiola moving into a formation like the 4-2-3-1. In the 82nd minute Bojan had the chance of the match when he headed wide from a Messi cross. It was an open chance. Anyway the next minute Pique scored that wonderful goal. Messi laid the ball off to Xavi who send the ball to Pique who was constantly pushing forward; Pique was played on by Muntari. Pique did a 360 degree turn to lose both defender and Goal Keeper and finished calmly to prepare the game for a nerve wracking finish. The in the dying minutes of second half both Messia and Xavi tried shots from outside the box, but Julio Caesar was upto the task. In the 92nd minute every Barca fan thought that they have done a repeat of the last season Chelsea match. The ball bounced of Toure and fell to Bojan whose finish was brilliant that it deserved the goal, but was disallowed due to a Toure handball. A closer look at the replays suggest that the handball decision was a bit unfortunate, but have to give it to the referee as at the first look it looked like a definite handball. Had the goal stood it would have been all over for Inter.

I predicted a 2-0 victory for Barca and it almost happened. But looking it in the larger pitcure, the tie was lost at San Sior. Guardiola's decision of not using the allowed substitution and looking for a second goal in the first leg did come to haunt us. Credit should be given to Inter Milan for playing a near error-free game. We could blame the referee for the handball decision and some penalty appeals, but then somedays luck will not go your way. Messi had a better night than the one he had in San Siro but wasn't commanding enough. In the 4-3-3- formation he had to get past a host of huge defenders to make any impact at this Inter defense. After seeing Ibrahimovic's performance yesterday, I firmly believe that Guardiola should not have started with him. There were some good performances from the likes of Xavi, Pique and Toure but that wasn't good enough for Barca and we definitely missed Iniesta. Now the team has to pick up from this disappintment ASAP and prepare for retaining the La Liga title, which is going to be very tough.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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