NEWS
Wednesday October 2 2019
CL: Inter regrets in Barcelona

Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring at Camp Nou and Inter dominated the first half, but Barcelona fought back to win with a Luis Suarez brace.

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Romelu Lukaku was out injured for the big trip to Camp Nou, so Lautaro Martinez was partnered by ex-Barcelona player Alexis Sanchez. The hosts missed Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Junior Firpo and Ansu Fati, but Lionel Messi made only his second start of the season due to various muscular problems, which made him a major doubt until the last minute.

Incredibly, Inter took the lead within three minutes. Lautaro Martinez pounced on a lucky ricochet, held off Clement Lenglet and drilled his angled drive into the far bottom corner from 10 yards. He was the first Nerazzurri player to score at Camp Nou since 1970.

Antoine Griezmann’s header sailed over the bar and Lautaro Martinez was incorrectly flagged offside, but had been sent too wide to find the net anyway.

Samir Handanovic smothered Messi’s snapshot and Lenglet made a last-gasp intervention on Nicolò Barella. Antonio Candreva had the ball in the net on 26 minutes, but only after he had been caught clearly offside.

It was almost 2-0 soon after, as Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez combined to lay it back for Barella, whose strike was deflected over from the edge of the box.

Lautaro Martinez rose for a header on Candreva’s cross and was only denied by a spectacular one-handed Marc-Andre Ter Stegen save on the line.

Stefano Sensi curled just over the bar after a give-and-go, then Alexis Sanchez turned a diving header wide from Sensi’s cross. In first half stoppages, Sensi was again releasing Lautaro Martinez with a through ball, but this time Nelson Semedo did well to stall Toro.

Arturo Vidal came off the bench and made an immediate impact, as his cross found Luis Suarez on the edge of the box for a magnificent right-foot volley as he was sliding over, steering it into the far bottom corner.

Ousmane Dembele also came on and within a minute had curled a powerful finish over the bar, but it was a world away from the first half, as Inter were pinned back permanently into their own half.

After Matteo Politano saw a counter-attack charged down, Barcelona turned the game around completely. Messi spread the play to the D for Luis Suarez, whose first touch allowed him to flick it beyond Diego Godin and create a chasm in the Inter defence, beating Handanovic one-on-one.

Barcelona 2-1 Inter

Lautaro Martinez 3 (I), Suarez 58, 85 (B)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Semedo; Arthur, Busquets (Vidal 52), De Jong; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann (Dembele 66)

Inter: Handanovic; Godin, De Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva (D’Ambrosio 70), Sensi (Politano 80), Barella, Brozovic, Asamoah; Lautaro Martinez, Alexis Sanchez (Gagliardini 66)

Ref: Skomina (SVN)

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