Inter Milan vs Barcelona

This draw promises to be the better of the the two semi finals of this times Champions Leagues semis. The other other one is between Bayern Munich and O Lyon. An interesting fact about the line ups for this match is that before this season Samuel Eto’o moved from Barcelona to Inter Milan, while former Milan striker Ibrahimovic moved from Milan to Barcelona. Both the strikers were facing their former clubs, and Eto’o had helped Barcelona win last year’s final ! Barcelona were the favourites going into the game at San Siro – Milan’s home ground. The game started with normal pace and it took some time for the teams to get settled in and find their play.

In the 10th minute Eto’o found Diego Milito in space, he was one on one with the goal keeper, but the linesman raised his flag, giving offside to Milito. However, in the replay it was clear that Milito was not offside, and it could have been a very close chance for Inter. Milan were holding possession of the ball and the game looked in balance. In 17th minute Eto’o cut past some of his former Barca team mates outside the box, and had a go on goal with his left foot, but his shot was saved by a diving effort from Barcelona keeper Valdes. But he only managed to stop the ball from going in goal, and it went to Milito who on the rebound had the best goal scoring opportunity of the game so far, but he failed to hit the target form a close range.

Meanwhile, Messi was tightly man marked by Cambiasso and company and was not allowed much space to move. Every time he got the ball, Milan midfielders and defenders were onto him, not letting him much time on the ball. Barcelona were beginning to set in, and in 19th minute after some good passing play, Maxwell found space down the left flank, and made a run into the Milan box and then made a low cross inside the box. The cross was met by Pedro, who finished it off perfectly with a low shot in the goal. 1-0 Barcelona ! It was good play by Barcelona, but also some sloppy defending by Milan, who should not have allowed Maxwell space to run in the box. The goal charged up Inter, and soon they were the ones playing the attack and Barcelona were put on back foot with some major defending to do. In the 22nd min Lucio(Milan centre back) won a free header inside the box from a Milan free kick but he could not direct the ball towards goal. In 27th minute Milito found himself in a similar position inside the Barca box as before, but again he missed to hit the target from close range. Milan were looking more and more threatening, and their efforts paid off when in 30th minute Milito found Wesley Sneijder free in box and passed the ball to him, who made no mistake in finishing the move with a cool finish. 1-1! The rest of the half went on with not much action except for a few occasional half chances by both sides, but none of them could find a second goal. Half time.

The 2nd half started with Inter starting the play, and in the very first minute they made a great move, with Milito making a low cross in the box, but none of Milan players were in the right place to finish it off. However, that did not matter as in the very next minute a run and a cross from Sneijder found substitute Maicon in box who made a close and precise finish to give Milan the lead. 2-1. Barcelona were looking to slip away, when in 53rd minute Messi had a good shot on goal from outside the box, but it was stopped by an equally good save from Milan keeper to deny Messi and Barca the equaliser. Barca won a corner and Busquets was free to head the ball but his attempt was again saved by Milan keeper.

It was Milan’s turn to score again; when in the 61st minute Sneijder and Milito were free in front of the Barca goal. Sneijder instead of going for the goal headed the ball across towards Milito, who made no mistake this time to finish it off. Milan 3 – Barca 1. However, Milan had gotten lucky as Milito was offside, but unfortunately for Barcelona the linesman did not thought so.

The 2nd half progressed with no team able to come up with really good chances anymore, until in 77th minute when Xavi played a through ball to Pedro inside Milan box. Pedro was quick to take the shot, but the defender was jsut in time with a diving block. In 79th minute Barcelona won a free kick in a promising position from few yards outside the box. It was Messi to take it, but his shot was again well saved from Milan keeper.

There had been some really bad decisions in the game by the referee, but the biggest blunder he made was in 84th minute when Dani Alves (Barcelona) was brought down by Sneijder in the box from behind. It was a clear penalty, but instead of giving the penalty the referee showed yellow card to Alves for being over dramatic in his fall. It was the worst decision of the game so far. Luck and referee both were just not on Barcelona’s side ! The game finished with score line 3-1 to Milan, and the 2nd leg will be played coming Wednesday at Barcelona.