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Champions League : Barcelona Fail to Cover Ground; VAR Drama

By 05/10/2022No Comments

Barcelona lined up against Inter Milan for the first time since 2019, looking to get back to winnings but falling to a 1-0 defeat in a match plagued by VAR drama. At the Allianz Arena, the other group C match was between FC Bayern Munich and Viktoria Plzen, where Bayern overwhelmingly won by a massive score of 5-0. Liverpool also seemed to have found their form in their group A encounter against Rangers, where they were able to win 2-0. Another big result in the night was subject to the Ajax vs Napoli clash where Napoli continued their excellent winning form, tearing Ajax apart with a score of 6-1.

The last Inter Milan had won against Barcelona was back in 2010 when they knocked them out of the Champions League before becoming eventual winners of the competition. The last time these 2 locked horns was back in 2019 when Barcelona came out on top in that fixture. Now both squads had somewhat makeovers to their line-ups, and it didn’t take long for the hosts Inter Milan to register a shot on target when Hakan Calhanoglu’s driving power strike was tipped over by Ter Stegen in the 6th minute. The first VAR consultation occured in the 23rd minute when a potential penalty call against Barcelona’s Eric Garcia, but an offside spotted by VAR in the build-up meant Barca would escape the penalty scare as it was indeed.

Barcelona’s first real goal attempt came in the 35th minute through Ousmane Dembele when he danced his way into spacing before unleashing a shot that bulged the side netting, after brilliant work from Pedri in the midfield. The game was destined to enter half-time at 0-0, but Calhanoglu is always on cue with his long-range striking ability. In the 1st minute of the added 3, he was able to beat Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen with a low-running shot that went into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 to Inter just before half-time.

Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu opens the scoring for Inter Milan against Barcelona in their group C tie at the San Siro.

Barcelona were bossing the possession stats at half-time with a whopping majority of 70% ball possession but trailing the former Italian champions. Barcelona came back stronger in the 2nd half, pushing Inter to their limits and having shots well matched and saved by Inter goalie Andre Onana. The Catalans had thought they had equalised in the 66th minute through their exciting young midfielder Pedri. Unfortunately for the Spanish giants, the goal would ruled out for a handball on Ansu Fati when the ball grazed his hand after Onana’s parry after the referee visited the VAR screen once more, and so the scores remained 1-0 to Inter. As a consequence of his dissent upon the consultation of the VAR screen, Barcelona’s manager was booked by the referee.

The Italian giants were faced with wave after wave of Barcelona attacks and had to be top of their game to make it hard for the Spanish giants to break them down and grab an equaliser. Barcelona’s attempts were frustrated by Inter’s organisational defence to make sure that they do not buckle under the pressure of the Catalans, as they were also failing to create and convert clear cut chances on their part. There was more drama to unfold at the end of a half in this game, this time in the 90th when Barcelona players called for a handball on fullback Dumfries which would result in a penalty. After close scrutiny in the VAR room the VAR officials found no fault on Dumfries and advised the referee to continue the game giving no penalty to Barcelona. There was 8 minutes to added at the end of normal time which Barcelona used to frantically search for an equaliser but with no avail and Inter Milan ultimately keeping the points at home. Inter Milan are now 2nd in Group C with 6 points, thanks to wins against Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen, ahead of Barca by 3 points who only have 1 win in the 3 games played so far. Bayern Munich top the standings with a 100% winning record in Group C, while Viktoria Plzen round up the standings at the bottom with 0 points, 1 goals scored and 12 goals conceded in 3 games. Barcelona will be hosting Inter Milan at the Spotify Camp Nou in the return fixture next week and the Catalans must treat the game as a must win if they are to make it into the last 16.

UEFA Champions League matchday 3, Tuesday’s results. Sadio Mane scored in Bayern’s huge win, while Alexander-Arnold scored a marvellous freekick in Liverpool’s 2-0 win.
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