Xavi: ‘I am outraged’
Xavi Hernandez was outraged with the referee’s performance in the defeat of FC Barcelona against Inter Milan
Hakan Calhanoglu drilled a snooker shot into the near bottom corner to give Inter the shock victory over on-form Barcelona, putting them in pole position to qualify for the Champions League knockouts.
This was a head-to-head for second place, as both went in on three points behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich. Recent domestic form was wildly different, Barça winning six on the bounce, while the Nerazzurri lost four in the same period.
Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic were still injured, but Lautaro Martinez started despite a muscular twinge, while Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong, Hector Bellerin, Ronald Araujo and Jules Koundé didn’t make the trip.
The Blaugrana were almost allowed to dominate possession, as Inter focused on defend and counter, which almost paid off after six minutes when a Hakan Calhanoglu screamer from a huge distance was fingertipped over the bar by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Barca continued to keep the ball and Inter created the chances, as Federico Dimarco’s volley was deflected off target.
There was controversy on 22 minutes when Garcia handled in the box, but a penalty was not given because Lautaro Martinez’s offside position was considered to be interfering with play.
Correa then had the ball in the net after running from the centre-circle, but he was offside.
The first genuine chance Barcelona created was Ousmane Dembele taking on Calhanoglu only to hit the side-netting.
Just before half-time, Inter broke the deadlock as Calhanoglu picked his spot from the edge of the box and put a perfect daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner.
Barcelona were very dangerous on the hour mark, as Dembele thumped the near post under pressure from Milan Skriniar.
The Blaugrana did get the ball in the net on 67 minutes when Onana flapped at a Dembele cross and Pedri was unmarked to tap in at the back post. However, it was disallowed following a VAR review because Ansu Fati handled the cross.
Gerard Pique made a decisive interception to take Nicolò Barella’s cross off the head of Edin Dzeko, while Denzel Dumfries managed to avoid accidentally deflecting a corner into his own net from point-blank range.
Sergio Busquets got his head to a Dembele free kick, but turned it wide from seven yards. There was controversy in stoppages, as Dumfries appeared to handle a cross when trying to head it away, but the images from a different angle suggest Ansu Fati did get his head to it and so there was no VAR on-field review.
Dembele’s cross whipped past Lewandowski, Onana and the far post by a matter of inches.