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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.

8 comments:

koorosh.fardipour said...

this is what i wrote last night after the game as a comment on your previous article. please check the comments there and remove some unworthy words from the late posted comments.they should not be there.

OK, we are out of the ch.ship and that's not happened without reasons. we had lost this game in Milan when the players did not play well.They were TOO bad. tonight they were out of fantasies and looked very naive. Messi was good but not in the mood which makes him the great player he is. The whole night,the team were just knocking on a closed door.they had neither the power nor the knowledge to break down that thick door.Sorry guys,we are not the team we were last year. lets get back to the unfinished business of La liga. Real Madrid is out there after us. we had all the possibilities tonight to become the happy people of the night, we just did not know how to use them. I guess Etoo will score the decisive goal in the final just to prove us how ungratefully he was treated by the club he really loved

Read more: http://www.allaboutfcbarcelona.com/2010/04/fc-barcelona-vs-inter-milan-champions.html#ixzz0mSk5NSiS

Anonymous said...

Barca was by far the better team ofcourse but I just saw long shot after long shot that never really had a chance of makign it in. We wasted alot of time just trying a bit too fast to get to a finish. On another note I'd like to see a penalty for that with Messi. Loosing the ball was ok but he still had the chance on getting to it when he got knocked down. In my book that is a penalty. Also the Bojans goal should have been goal. Indeed the ball hit his arm but his arms was over his chest and calling that is way to harsh.

Sad day today but lets hope we get the liga titel anyways :)

Bibin said...

koorosh.fardipour :

Eto'o's work rate has been excellent yesterday. he was playing like a Left Back for whole night. He knows most of the guys and he used that to great effect. But I feel finally we have to let go off this Eto'o feeling. I am still a firm believer that he was the best for Barca. We seriously need to hire a striker and a lef wing player. Cesc can wait but these two position needs to fill quickly. I would say go for Villa and Silva or Robben, but the question is where we will fund the money for it?

Sumoflabarelli said...

Yes, I agree we were robbed by an at best questionable refereeing decision, but if we'd played over the first 85 minutes the way we did for the last 9 we wouldn't be saying all this.

Ultimately the only player who could put his hands up and say he had a good game was Gerard Pique; Xavi was uninspired, knocking the ball square every time he got it, Messi seemed to lose interest after he was easily dispossessed by Cambiasso twice and had his (albeit brilliant) shot saved, Ibra was as lazy as he always is, Dani Alves put one decent cross in, I could pretty well go on about all the team. And what was up with all the long shots?

I know they defended well but we're Barcelona for God's sake and we should expect to do better.

And if Eto'o scores the winner in the final, perhaps even Guardiola will admit what a lousy piece of business that was.

Let's hope the team can rally for the weekend, there's still lot's to do to secure the only piece of silverware we're still eligible for.

Anonymous said...

Why was Henry overlooked??I have not seen him play a bad game, he does not score a lot but he makes great passes for others to score. The team looks better with him than Ibra! Why did Pep break up a great team and subtitute it with inexperience, did he expect to get the same results or is it all about himself?

Anonymous said...

I think saying that Motta's foul on Busquets was definitely a bookable offence is very flawed and ignores that Busquets dived to make it a bookable offence. You can see that Motta's hand was thrust back as a natural motion of running and Busquents got caught slightly on the chin. How this can drop a fit man like a rock simply escapes me. You are already willing to acknowledge the flaws in your team, that is good but do call a spade a spade. Busquets is a diver and goes against the philosophy of football that Barcelona is trying to promote

Anonymous said...

I also think letting go of E'to was a big mistake,his speed and quickness complemented Messi's and Henry's very well. Ibra is always one step behind the play, reacting to late and has missed many great chances to score, We need a striker, someone that can take some of the work load off of Messi when Messi is being guared by two or three defenders.
Wednesday we had our chances. We had Inter. early in the game. but that red card made things worse.

Bibin said...

Letting Eto'o go was a mistake. But we have to get over that. We have to think of the future. I am one person who is very much convinced that Ibrahimovic is not a big match player. But let's give him one more season to proive us wrong. Rememeber even Henry took one season to adjust to Barca.

There are some positives from Inter win. I liked the way Bojan looked in the match. The disallowed goal was a wonderful finish. I know he missed an open chance with that header. But his movement for that header between two defenders was simply superb as Messi's cross. It was a pity that he couldn't direct it to goal. But he is slowly proving that he can gel into this team. Every time I see his goals I have a feeling that this ghuy will better whatever record set by Raul or Villa. Guardiola needs to give more time to Bojan from now on. I have a feeling that by next season end, he will replace Ibrahimovic as our first choice striker. This kid is good, we need to give him more time. He cannot be involved in any exchange deal.

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