UEFA Champions League Preview: Barcelona vs Inter Milan

UEFA Champions League Preview: Barcelona vs Inter Milan

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On April 28, 2010
  • 3 Comments
  • Barcelona, Geoff Reid, Inter Milan, UEFA Champions League

By Geoff Reid

Today we see the who will face Bayern Munich in the final in Madrid next month as Jose Mourinho’s Inter squad look to hold a two goal aggregate lead over the defending champions Barcelona.

Barcelona vs Inter Milan From The Camp Nou, Barcelona (Inter Milan lead 3-1 on agg.)
In what was a result that raised a few eyebrows in the first leg, Inter boss Jose Mourinho may have just shown the world how you can beat Barcelona and shut them down, although Inter did not get off to a good start after falling a goal behind early. Mourinho must get credit for the half time team talk he made because his players seemed inspired during the second half. One can also argue that Inter’s third goal should not have stood because it was offside, and Barcelona’s 12 hour bus trip due to the European airspace being closed temporarily in the event of the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Pep Guardoila wasn’t making any excuses though, and he realized his team wasn’t passing and moving off the ball like they usually do. We all know that Barcelona are a different animal at home and being two goals down on aggregate, we all will expect the Catalan giants to attack from the opening whistle. Inter to try and soak up as much pressure as possible while looking to hit Barcelona on the break and get that vital away goal which could potentially put the nail in the coffin for the defending champions.

Barcelona have Andres Iniesta (right thigh) and Eric Abidal (groin tear) both ruled out due to injury. Club captain Carles Puyol is suspended which will be a massive blow, and will probably mean Xavi Hernandez will wear the armband. Daniel Alves, and Gerard Pique have to be careful because they both will miss the final if they pick up yellow cards should they advance. Since Abidal did not pass the fitness test, it’s expected Maxwell will start in his place, and Gabriel Milito could replace Puyol in the back to face his elder brother Diego. There’s no doubt Inter are the best team Barcelona have faced so far this season and maybe even in the last two years, so this will be Guardoila’s biggest test as a manager and his side know how to score goals better then anyone.

Inter have Davide Santon (knee), and reserve goalkeeper Francesco Toldo (leg) both ruled out due to injury, while Goran Pandev (thigh) is listed as doubtful and will be a game time decision. Serbian Dejan Stankovic is suspended for this match. Should Samuel Eto’o, Maicon, Walter Samuel, and Javier Zanetti pick up bookings, they will not take part in the final should they win the tie. The issue concerning Mourinho is the fitness of Wesley Sneijder after he picked up a hamstring problem over the weekend. The Inter boss said his Dutch playmaker will play, he’s just not sure if he can go 90 minutes. With Messi being important to Barcelona, Sneijder is just as important to Inter.

Prediction: Barcelona 4-1 Inter Milan. This would mean Barcelona would win 5-4 on aggregate. The home side has to attack and everyone knows that while being their most dangerous in this situation. This tie should be on a knife’s edge until the final whistle, but I see Barcelona just barely edging Inter Milan in this one having the second leg at home.

Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Feel free to leave him your thoughts and comments below on today’s game.