Inter Milan 1-0 Barcelona: Hakan Calhanoglu’s long-range winner sees Barca lose back-to-back Champions League games and drop to third amid VAR controversy as Xavi’s side are denied equaliser and late penalty
- Inter Milan beat Barcelona 1-0 in Champions League win at the San Siro
- Hakan Calhanoglu nets winner with 25-yard striker in first half stoppage time
- Barcelona had second goal from Pedri ruled out after VAR spotted infringement
The shadow of the Europa League looms once more over Barcelona after a 1-0 defeat at the San Siro against Inter Milan left them third behind the Italians and leaders Bayern Munich with three games left.
Xavi’s team have just three points from three games and probably need to beat Inter at home next Wednesday to avoid failing to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the second season running.
The Barça coach made five changes from the weekend win that sent them top of La Liga but watched his masterplan crumble against physically superior Inter. They were unlucky too – a Pedri goal was ruled out for an Ansu Fati handball, and Denzel Dumfries looked to have handled in injury time but this time VAR did not intervene.
Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring the winner against Barcelona in the Champions League
A frustrated Xavi was booked as the decisions went against him but he’ll know some of the responsibility for the defeat is his. A decision to play Marco Alonso high up the pitch as an advanced left back did nothing to hurt Inter and left Barcelona exposed on the counter attack.
It was a night when the summer signings failed to shine. Like Alonso, Raphinha was below par and Robert Lewandowski struggled, starved of service.
Hakan Calhanoglu got the goal in injury time of the first half with a shot from the edge of the area that flashed beyond the lunge of Sergio Busquets and beat Marc Andre ter Stegen.
The warning signs had come with Inter’s first chance – also long-range from Calhanoglu that Ter Stegen tipped over.
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Onana 6; Skriniar 7, De Vrij 7 (Acerbi 71), Bastoni 7; Darmian 7 (Dumfries 77), Barella 7, Mikitharian 6, Calhanoglu 8 (Asllani 85), DiMarco 7 (Gosens 77); Lautaro 7, Correa 7 (56 Dzeko) 6.
Subs not used: Handanovic, Gagliardini, Bellanova, D’Ambrosio, Botis, Carboni, Zanotti
Scorers: Calhanoglu 45+2
Booked: Onana 96
Manager: Simone Inzaghi
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen 7; Sergio Roberto 6, Eric Garcia 6, Christensen 6 (Pique 58) 6, Marcos Alonso 5 (Balde 63) 6, Gavi 6 (Kessie 84), Busquets 6, Pedri 8; Raphinha 5 (Ansu Fati 63) 6, Lewandowski 6, Dembele 7
Subs not used: Torres, Alba, Sotorres, Casado, Torre, Tenas
Booked: Busquets 60
Barcelona were briefly on top at the start of the game winning three corners in the first 15 minutes but midway through the first half Inter thought they had a penalty when Eric Garcia handled in the area.
They were saved because the offside flag was up. A VAR review followed because, although Joaquin Correa was the wrong side of the last defender, the ball hit Eric Garcia’s arm from Andreas Christensen’s clearance. Correa was close enough to Christensen to be adjudged to have been interfering.
After that scare Pedri threatened to take control of the game but when he surged forward and played in Dembele down the right the winger twisted and turned one time too many before firing into the side netting.
Inter players celebrate their win over Barcelona and are now second in their Champions League group behind leaders Bayern Munich
Correa scored for Inter but was again offside as Pedri continued to dominate. He was chopped down by Matteo Darmian who should have been booked.
Ten minutes after the restart Christensen hobbled off with blood seeping from an ankle and Gerard Pique came on. Inter brought Edin Dzeko for Correa. On the hour Dembele hit the post with a shot as Barcelona stepped up their bid for an equaliser.
He was finding his range and when he went past Federico Dimarco down the right and curled in a teasing cross Barcelona hought they were level. André Onana came but never punched clear and Pedri swept the loose ball in.
The goal was reviewed and was ruled out because the ball had struck substitute Fati’s hand as he came in to challenge Onana.
it was a frustrating night for Barcelona who have now lost back-to-back Champions League games after losing to Bayern last time out
Xavi protested himself into Slavko Vincic’s book and Barcelona were back to trailing 1-0.
The referee was increasingly busy. Calhanoglu was shown yellow for a foul on Busquets that could have earned him red. Gavi was booked for a verbal volley aimed at Matteo Darmian and Filippo Inzaghi was then cautioned for dissent.
When what looked like handball against Dumfries was ignored Inter knew they were home and dry. Barcelona can put things right at home next week but without the injured Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo it will not be easy.
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