MX23RW : Wednesday, November 21 14:41:33

Live Commentary: Inter Milan 1-1 Barcelona - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Barcelona, which finished 1-1.
Live Commentary: Inter Milan 1-1 Barcelona - as it happened
© Reuters

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Barcelona from San Siro.

Barcelona will be looking to make it four wins from their four Group B fixtures tonight.

Indeed, the La Liga giants have beaten PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter in their three group matches this term, and sit three points clear of second-placed Inter ahead of the fascinating clash in Milan.

Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute coverage of the action.


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7.01pmEvening all! Welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of the Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Barcelona from San Siro. The visitors will be looking to make it four wins from their four Group B fixtures tonight. Indeed, the La Liga giants have beaten PSV Eindhoven, Tottenham Hotspur and Inter in their three group matches this term, and sit three points clear of second-placed Inter ahead of the fascinating clash in Milan. Stay tuned for the action!

7.04pmTonight will be the eighth meeting between these two teams in European competition. Barcelona have won four of the previous seven, suffering just one defeat in the process. Inter's sole success was a 3-1 win at San Siro in the first leg of their semi-final during the 2009-10 campaign, and they also locked horns in the group stages of that particular season. The two teams have met on three occasions at San Siro, and two of those matches have finished level, with Barcelona yet to triumph.

7.07pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the all-important team news for this match. Does Lionel Messi feature for the visitors? Is Mauro Icardi back in the XI? Let's see...

7.10pmTEAMS!

INTER MILAN (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Vrsaljko, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Politano, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi

BARCELONA (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Arthur, Busquets; Rakitic; Dembele, Suarez, Coutinho


7.13pmRadja Nainggolan made his comeback from an ankle problem against Genoa at the weekend, and the Belgium international is back in the Inter XI for this match. Icardi was left on the bench at the weekend, meanwhile, but will return to the tip of the attack tonight. Elsewhere, Sime Vrsaljko features at right-back, with Kwadwo Asamoah also returning to the team having been rested at the weekend. Ivan Perisic and Matteo Politano will feature in the wide positions.

Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi in action against AC Milan on April 4, 2018© Reuters


7.16pmAs for Barcelona, head coach Ernesto Valverde claimed that Messi could be available following a fractured arm. The Argentine recently returned to first-team training and had been included in the travelling squad, but he is not involved tonight, which is not a surprise. As a result, Ousmane Dembele is handed a start in an attacking position after coming off the bench to score against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend. The back five picks itself with Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen still on the sidelines, while Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Sergio Busquets continue in midfield.

7.19pmInter suffered a 2-0 defeat when they travelled to Barcelona on October 24, but are still in a strong position when it comes to making the knockout round of the competition. Indeed, the Italian giants sit second in the section on six points having overcome Tottenham and PSV.

7.22pmInter came from behind to record a 2-1 win over Tottenham in their group opener on September 18, before recording a 2-1 victory away to PSV at the start of October. In truth, the Italian outfit found it difficult to harm Barcelona at Camp Nou, but it will be a different match tonight.


7.25pmJuventus lead Serie A after 11 matches of the 2018-19 campaign, but Inter are their closest challengers. Indeed, the Milan giants have recorded eight league wins this term to sit second in the table. Since losing at Barcelona, Inter have beaten Lazio 3-0 and Genoa 5-0 in Serie A.

7.28pmnter are also, of course, the last Italian team to win the Champions League. That occurred in 2010, and was their third European Cup triumph. This is the 12th time that they have been in the group stage of the Champions League, meanwhile, but the first since the 2011-12 campaign, which does seem incredible when considering their standing in the European game.

7.32pmLuciano Spalletti's side have kept seven clean sheets in their last 19 matches, and in Mauro Icardi, have a striker who has scored eight times in 11 appearances in all competitions this season. Icardi found it difficult to make his mark against Barcelona last time out, but there is no question that the Argentine has the quality to harm the Spanish champions tonight.

Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti watches on during his side's Serie A defeat to Sassuolo© Reuters


7.35pmSpanish champions Barcelona, meanwhile, will go in search of their sixth straight win in all competitions tonight. Questions were being asked of this Barcelona team when they lost 2-1 at Leganes on September 26, but the Catalan giants have won six of their eight matches in all competitions since then, remaining unbeaten in the process during a strong run.

7.38pmThree straight La Liga wins has taken Barcelona to the top of the table, with a 4-2 victory over Sevilla followed by a 5-1 success over Real Madrid in El Clasico. That said, Valverde's side needed two late goals to beat Rayo on Saturday night, and a similar performance against Inter would make it difficult for the Spanish side to pick up a good result. As mentioned, Barcelona are sitting pretty at the top of Group B having taken nine points from their three matches. Indeed, Valverde's side beat PSV 4-0 before winning 4-2 at Tottenham ahead of their two-goal success over Inter.

Rafinha celebrates with Philippe Coutinho after opening the scoring for Barcelona in their Champions League tie with Inter Milan on October 24, 2018© Reuters


7.42pmBarcelona have won the European Cup on five occasions, most recently in 2015. They have had to watch bitter rivals Real Madrid clean up in recent years, but there is a feeling that the Catalan giants are in a strong position to land the trophy this season. That said, the likes of Juventus will have something to say about that. Kickoff is less than 20 minutes away here!

7.45pmBarcelona have actually only won six of their last 17 away matches in the Champions League, drawing five and losing six. They have been beaten in four of their last 10 away fixtures in the competition, meanwhile, and that will be a slight concern ahead of what is a very difficult match.

7.48pm

7.52pmThe Catalan giants have won their group in the last 11 seasons, however, and have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of those campaigns. Last term, they incredibly lost to Roma in the final eight despite winning the first leg of their quarter-final 4-1, and those unhappy memories of Italy will be in the back of their mind. Less than 10 minutes until kickoff now!

7.55pmTonight will be the eighth meeting between these two teams in European competition. Somewhat surprisingly, it will be their first meeting at San Siro since the semi-finals of the 2009-2010 competition. Inter recorded a 3-1 win on that occasion, with Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito all on the scoresheet for the Italian giants.

7.58pmHere we go then; both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff at San Siro. Will Barcelona make it four wins from four in the group? Tottenham Hotspur, who are taking on PSV Eindhoven, will also be very interested in the result tonight. Stay tuned for the action!

0 minKICKOFF:  Inter kick things off on home soil...

2 min... it has been a strong start from the home side. Icardi breaks into a dangerous position, but the offside flag is raised. Inter are pressing Barcelona high up the field at the moment.

2 minSAVE!  Handanovic is on hand to keep out a curling strike from Dembele.

4 minIt has been a very open start to this match, with both teams showing their attacking intent. Inter are seeing a lot of the ball in their own half as they look to force Barcelona back.

6 minBarcelona again break into a dangerous position with Dembele, who has been bright early on, but the attacker cannot move past the challenge of Skriniar. Good pressure from the visitors.

8 minBoth teams are having their spells in possession, with Inter now breaking down the left with Perisic. The Croatian is crowded out, however, and Barcelona break through Luis Suarez.

9 minLuis Suarez manages to break into the Inter box before delivering a cross, but there are no takers. Barcelona are the team looking more threatening in the final third of the field.

12 minSHOT!  Luis Suarez looks to pick out the top corner following a poor kick from Handanovic, and the striker is not too far away! Barcelona are certainly the more threatening here.

14 minLuis Suarez again finds space in a shooting position, but instead clips a cross into the arms of the Inter goalkeeper. The home side are struggling to get the ball at the moment here.

15 minInter have a free kick in a dangerous position as Lenglet brings Icardi to the deck...

16 min... Politano delivers into the Barcelona box, but the danger is cleared. Still goalless here.

19 minCHANCE!  Big chance for the home side as Icardi delivers a low cross into Asamoah, but the full-back fires over the crossbar! Barcelona were extremely fortunate there.

21 minGood pressure from Barcelona at the moment as they keep the ball in Inter's half here.

22 minCLOSE!  Luis Suarez loops the ball just wide of the Inter goal after breaking into the penalty box. The Uruguay international has been excellent in the opening 22 minutes here.

23 minSHOT!  Perisic cuts inside before firing high and wide of the Barcelona goal.

25 minSHOT!  Rakitic misses the post down the other end as Barcelona enjoy another period of pressure. It is a very open and interesting game, but is still goalless with 25 minutes played.

27 minA dangerous low cross comes into the Barcelona box, but the offside flag is raised. The flick was from Icardi, but the striker was correctly ruled offside. Barcelona are breaking once again.

29 minLittle over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and Coutinho has just missed the crossbar from outside the Inter box. We have not seen an awful lot from Coutinho thus far tonight.

31 minCHANCE!  Dembele strikes towards the Inter goal, and his effort is blocked by his own teammate Suarez. The visitors continue to look very dangerous in wide areas of the field!

31 minCHANCE!  From the resulting corner, Luis Suarez just misses the far post with an effort!

33 minBarcelona again break quickly through Coutinho, who feeds a pass into Dembele. The move breaks down, however, with Asamoah back to clear. Not too much from Inter at the moment.

35 minWhistles around San Siro as Barcelona pass and probe in Inter's half here.

37 minInter are struggling to get anything going in the final third of the field. Again the ball is worked wide into Perisic, but Busquets cuts out the low cross, and Barcelona can break again.

39 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining, and we are still level. Inter have had a bit of the ball in the last couple of minutes, although Barcelona remain quite comfortable.

41 minBarcelona again break clear on the counter with Luis Suarez, but the striker is crowded out at the vital moment, and the danger is cleared. Barcelona though can build again here.

43 minSAVE!  Smart save from Handanovic to keep out a Luis Suarez strike!

43 minYELLOW CARD!  Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) is booked for a foul on Nainggolan.

45 minRakitic has a shot blocked as Barcelona continue to force the issue here.

45+1 minHALF TIME:  INTER MILAN 0-0 BARCELONA

8.46pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Barcelona have had the best of it, but Handanovic has made some smart saves. The hosts Inter have thus far struggled to get going in the final third of the field here.

8.51pmSTATISTICS! Barcelona had 61% of the ball in the first period, and managed 13 attempts, three of which were on target. Inter, meanwhile, only managed two shots, and neither were on target. Just the one yellow card to report, and that came for Rakitic in the 42nd minute.

8.56pmBENCH WATCH! Rafinha, Malcom and Vidal are among those on the Barcelona bench tonight, but there is no Messi, with the Argentine ultimately not deemed fit enough as he recovers from a fractured arm. As for Inter, the likes of Martinez, Diao, Candreva and Valero are in reserve.

46 minKICKOFF:  Barcelona resume the action at San Siro...

47 min... no changes from either side at the break, which is not a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.

49 minDembele looks to get in behind Asamoah, but the left-back has the pace to match the Barcelona attacker. Just a reminder that Barcelona are once again without Messi.

51 minDe Vrij manages to flick a cross towards the Barcelona goal, but his header is too high.

53 minDe Vrij takes a big risk when it comes to heading back towards his own goalkeeper, but Dembele cannot meet it. The hosts then break down the other end with Perisic, but his cross is straight into the arms of Ter Stegen. End-to-end football in the last couple of minutes.

53 minSAVE!  Handanovic is on hand to keep out a strike from Coutinho!

55 minGood pressure from Barcelona at the moment as Inter sit back on home soil.

57 minCLOSE!  Lenglet meets a corner from the right, but his header is too high.

59 minCHANCE!  Rakitic finds space inside the Inter box, but Handanovic is on hand to make the save, and the ball is then scrambled behind. Still goalless with 59 minutes on the clock.

61 minInter are preparing to make their first change of the match, and it will be Valero.

63 minSAVE!  Another smart save from Handanovic to keep out a Coutinho strike!

64 minINTER SUB! Valero replaces Nainggolan for the home side.

66 minCHANCE!  Huge chance for Inter as Perisic delivers a dream of a cross onto the head of Politano, but the midfielder's effort is wide of the post. Had to score from there!

68 minSAVE!  Handanovic is down to keep out a strike from Dembele, and Suarez bundles the rebound wide of the post. Inter's goalkeeper has been excellent again tonight.

68 minSHOT!  Rakitic fires harmlessly wide of the Inter post on this occasion.

69 minValero's clever effort is deflected wide of the post, and the resulting corner is then cleared. Inter are certainly seeing more of the Barcelona box in the second half of action.

70 minPerisic has a strike deflected wide of the post during a good period for Inter. It is a surprise that Barcelona boss Valverde has not looked to make a change at this stage of the match.

71 minCLOSE!  Icardi sees his flicked header just move wide of the far post.

74 minBARCELONA SUB! Vidal replaces Arthur for Barcelona.

76 minBarcelona are the team on the front foot at the moment as they work the ball into wide positions. That said, Inter's two centre-backs have been strong in the air tonight.

78 minIn truth, a draw would not be the worst result for either of these teams, although Tottenham have just equalised against PSV Eindhoven in the group's other match.

80 minAs it stands, Barcelona would be through to the next round of the competition. Inter, however, need to win to book their spot in the knockout stage. Big final 10 minutes to come here.

81 minBARCELONA SUB! Malcom replaces Dembele for the away side.

81 minINTER SUB! Candreva replaces Politano for the home side.

83 minPerisic breaks into a dangerous position down the left, but the offside flag is raised.

83 minGOAL!  INTER 0-1 BARCELONA (MALCOM)

84 minOh my word! Malcom! He has only just entered the field. The attacker danced away from a couple of challenges before finding a low effort into the back of the net. Handanovic might have saved it, but it squirmed into the corner. What a huge moment for the attacker!

85 minINTER SUB! Martinez replaces Brozovic for the home side.

87 minPossession for Barcelona as they attempt to secure a huge win, which would book their spot in the next round with two games to spare. Inter have to come up with something late on.

87 minGOAL!  INTER 1-1 BARCELONA (ICARDI)

88 minHuge moment! The ball breaks to Icardi inside the Barcelona box, and the striker manages to turn away before firing into the back of the net. We are all square in Milan!

88 minYELLOW CARD!  Perisic (Inter) is booked for a poor challenge on Coutinho.

90 minWe are heading into three minutes of additional time here.

90+1 minMalcom delivers a fine cross into the Inter box, but Suarez cannot make contact.

90+2 minTime is running out here, if either side are to win it.

90+3 minFULL TIME:  INTER 1-1 BARCELONA

9.51pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with the two teams level at 1-1. Malcom's 83rd-minute strike looked to be sealing all three points for Barcelona, but Icardi came up with a leveller four minutes later to ensure that the points would be shared. The result has seen Barcelona remain top of Group B on 10 points, with Inter second on seven points with two group matches left to play. Thanks for joining our live coverage once again!

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Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti watches on during his side's Serie A defeat to Sassuolo
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1273234181624
2Sevilla1272324141023
3Atletico MadridAtletico12651168823
4AlavesAlaves127231712523
5Espanyol126331610621
6Real Madrid126242016420
7Real Valladolid1245399017
8Levante125251819-117
9GironaGirona124531314-117
10Real Sociedad124441514116
11Getafe124441110116
12Real Betis124441215-316
13EibarEibar124351218-615
14Celta Vigo123542220214
15Valencia1228289-114
16Villarreal122551113-211
17Athletic Bilbao121741319-610
18Leganes12246916-710
19Rayo Vallecano121471425-117
20Huesca121381025-156

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