Inter 1-1 Barcelona: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Mauro Icardi Strikes Late to Stun Barça

Mauro Icardi scored a late equaliser for Inter as the home side drew 1-1 with Barcelona at San Siro on Tuesday. 

Malcom’s opener – and first for Barça – was not enough to secure all three points for Ernesto Valverde’s side, who qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League regardless.

Barcelona started the game on top, with Inter struggling to deal with the Catalan side’s high press. However, the first chance of the game fell to the Italian side in the 18th minute as a low cross into the box found Kwadwo Asamoah, who fired over under no pressure. 

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This was to be the home side’s only real chance of the first half as Barcelona forced saves from Samir Handanovic through Luis Suárez and Philippe Coutinho. However, both sides went into half-time goalless.

The pattern of the game continued in the second half, as Barcelona dominated the ball without creating many clear-cut chances. 

In the 82nd minute, having come on as a substitute, Malcolm picked up the ball on the edge of the box before driving a low finish beyond Handanovic, who perhaps should have done better with the effort. 

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In the 86th minute, the home side scored a shock equaliser as a rebounded shot found its way into the path of Icardi, who fought off the attentions of the Barcelona defence before slotting a low shot beyond Marc-André ter Stegen to make it 1-1. 

Here’s out breakdown of this one.


INTER

Key Talking Point

Having won their last five home matches in all competitions, Inter seemed to have been making a fortress of San Siro prior to this Champions League clash. However, Barcelona coming to town represented a huge threat to their stronghold. 

After beating Genoa 5-0 in their last home match, Inter were surprisingly toothless in attack against Barcelona on Tuesday night. Their passing was often wayward and their build-up play lacked pace and creativity. 

However, the Italian side showed their resolve and rescued a draw from the jaws of defeat, stretching their unbeaten run at home to six matches. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (7), Vrsaljko (6), Skriniar (7), de Vrij (6), Asamoah (6), Vecino (6), Brozovic (6), Politano (6), Nainggolan (6), Perisic (5), Icardi (7)

Substitutes: Martínez (6), Balde Diao, Valero (6), Miranda, Padelli, D’Ambrosio, Candreva


STAR MAN: Such was Inter’s rather underwhelming performance, Samir Handanovic was their star player on the night. The Slovenian goalkeeper was peppered with shots throughout the game and dealt with them with ease at times.


With the likes of Suárez and Coutinho often allowed to shoot at will, Inter’s goalkeeper had to be on top form to keep his side in the game and he was up to the task. 

WORST PLAYER: None of Inter’s players were obviously the worst player, but there wasn’t a single outfield player who shone either. Such are the capabilities of Ivan Perisic, he was perhaps the most disappointing of Inter’s players on the night.

The Croatian winger was electric at the World Cup but from his performance on Tuesday night he was unable to provide the spark to his side’s attack. Inter’s star man, Maurco Icardi, was quiet throughout aside from his late goal and it was the lack of service from the likes of Perisic that left the Argentine isolated. 


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point

Despite rumours that Lionel Messi had recovered in time for Barcelona’s Champions League Clash with Inter Milan, the Argentine was left out of the squad. Therefore, the question was how Barcelona’s team would react without their talisman.

While Barça probed throughout, they struggled to engineer that final pass and finish to make their dominance count. You have to think that, if Messi had been playing on the night, Barcelona may well have won this game comfortably. 


Player Ratings 

Starting XI: ter Stegen (7), Roberto (6), Piqué (7), Lenglet (6), Alba (7), Rakitic (6), Busquets (7), Arthur (7), Dembélé (5), Suárez (7), Coutinho (8)

Substitutes: Semedo, Rafinha, Cillessen, Malcolm (8), Vidal (6), Aleñá, Brandáriz


STAR MAN: On his return to San Siro, Philippe Coutinho stole the show for Barcelona. The Brazilian maestro oozed confidence on the ball, either choosing to pop off a quick pass or take his man on. 


With Barcelona’s magician, Messi, missing the match through injury, it was clear that Coutinho took the creative burden onto his shoulders and the former Liverpool man dealt with it seamlessly. He was at the heart of everything good about Barcelona tonight and seems to have got even better since his Liverpool days. 

WORST PLAYER: Ousmane Dembélé has endured a tough time at Barcelona since his big-money transfer from Borussia Dortmund two summers ago. The French winger’s long-term injury meant he missed the vast majority of the season, which complicated his transition into the team.

Against Inter Milan, Dembélé was poor in truth. He often seemed to inhibit Barcelona’s attack rather than contribute towards it. Luis Suárez grew particularly impatient with the Frenchman throughout the game and was often seen directing him. It was a night to forget for the £135m man. 


Looking Ahead

In the Champions League, Inter next face a trip to Wembley as they face Tottenham Hotspur on 28 November. The Italian side won the reverse fixture 2-1, thanks to a last minute winner and, so long as they avoid defeat this time around, should qualify from the group. 

Barcelona, meanwhile, take on PSV away from home on the same date, safe in the knowledge that their progression to the last 16 is already assured.

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Manchester United & Barcelona in Race to Sign 15-Year-Old Benfica Wonderkid

?Manchester United and Barcelona are set to compete for the signature of Benfica teenager Ronaldo Camara after scouts from both clubs were impressed by the young forward.

At the age of just 15, Camara has already taken his first steps into Benfica’s Under-19 team and made his UEFA Nations League debut against Ajax last month.

The Bissau-born starlet has caught the eye of many European powerhouses, and the Portuguese publication ?Record claims that ?United and ?Barcelona are heavy favourites to complete the signing.

It is understood that ?Chelsea and ?Manchester City were also keeping tabs on Camara over the summer, but both clubs have since cooled their interest.

Camara, who was born in 2003, will turn 16 in January 2019, at which point he will be allowed to sign for any club in Europe. He is under contract until 2020 but Benfica will be keen to offer him improved terms to fend off interest in their young prodigy.

He made his debut for Portugal’s Under-17 side in August 2017 when he was just 14 and scored against Turkey on his fourth appearance. Last month he scored twice in a 10-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Manchester United and Barcelona have both done business with Benfica in recent years, having signed players from the Portuguese side in the 2017 summer transfer window.

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United signed Victor Lindelof and Barcelona signed ?Nelson Semedo for €35m and €30.5m respectively.

United also dipped into the Portuguese market this year to sign Diogo Dalot from Porto.

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Former Barcelona Star Admits Neymar Return Would Be ‘Difficult’ for Club to Arrange

Former Barcelona defender Martin Montoya has claimed that Neymar will be looking for a return to Barcelona after previously building a connection with the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013 after impressing for his boyhood club Santos and went on to make 186 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan giants. He then became the most expensive player in world football when he joined Paris Saint-Germain for over 200m in 2017, signalling the inflation of the current transfer market. 

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Despite the controversy surrounding his move to PSG, the Brazilian has been a resounding success in the French capital so far, scoring 40 goals in just 44 games and providing 22 assists in the process.

However, Montoya, who played alongside ?Neymar between 2013 and 2016, has claimed that the Brazilian will be looking to end his time with the French champions so that he can make a triumphant return to ?Barcelona. 

“I don’t know, I think it is difficult to get done,” Montoya told ?Goal when asked about a possible Neymar return. “Paris is also a great team and I don’t think they will let him to leave easily. Paris paid a big amount of money for him and I don’t think Barcelona would pay the same price for him [to come back].

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“I think Neymar wants to go back because he was really comfortable and adapted the three years he was at the club. He had a great connection with ?Luis Suarez and ?Messi, but I think it is very difficult for him to come back to Barca.”

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7 European Clubs Malcom Could Join After Non-Existent Start to Barcelona Career

Less than four short months after completing a dream move to Barcelona, 21-year-old Brazilian winger Malcom is already being linked with a swift Camp Nou exit.

The player himself recently insisted he is happy at the club, but a total failure to so far establish himself in coach Ernesto Valverde’s plans risks stalling his promising career.

Previously a breakout star at Bordeaux, Malcom has featured only twice in La Liga this season for a paltry total of 25 minutes. He hasn’t even been selected in the matchday squad for four of the last five league fixtures and his only start in Barça colours came in the Copa del Rey as part of a team that struggled to break down lower division side Cultural Leonesa.

Here’s a look at seven European clubs that might be a good fit in January or the summer…

7. Roma

Roma was the club that Malcom very nearly joined in summer. The proposed move was at such an advanced state that fans were waiting for him in the Italian capital, only for him to have his head turned by Barcelona at the 11th hour and go there instead.

Roma had already signed Dutch winger Justin Kluivert prior to the saga and didn’t dip back into the market for anyone else after losing out to Barça, suggesting that the need for a player like Malcom is still there. Add to that, the club’s lacklustre start to 2018/19.

Whether Roma would entertain the idea after how he treated them is another question.  

6. Chelsea

Chelsea have actually been linked with a move for Malcom following Spanish claims that Barcelona are still keen on signing Willian after multiple bids were rejected in the summer, and would be willing to offer the 21-year-old as a makeweight.

Chelsea are certainly a club who could soon have need for an exciting new attacking player. The future of Eden Hazard remains up in the air, with Real Madrid hovering, while Pedro will turn 32 years of age before the start of next season. Willian, meanwhile, will be 31 in August. 

Planning for the future could see the west London club consider Malcom.  

5. Sevilla

A move from Barcelona to Sevilla would allow Malcom to remain in La Liga and test himself, but would equally remove him from the Camp Nou pressure cooker and lessen the intense demands on a player who is still so young in the grand scheme of things.

Sevilla have bounced back this season after finishing seventh in La Liga last term and are second behind Barça in the standings at this moment in time. Adding strength in depth could be the key to ensuring they remain in the top four as the campaign progresses.

It may also be of interest for Barça to see how Malcom fares in La Liga with regular chances.  

4. AC Milan

AC Milan are determined to restore themselves to a position alongside Europe’s elite clubs, yet it remains a challenge just finish in Serie A’s top four for the first time since 2013 and qualify for the Champions League as a result of competition from Lazio, Roma and others.

There have been rumours that current star Suso is wanted by Chelsea, while Milan might view Malcom as an upgrade on Fabio Borini, a player who managed only five combined goals and assists in Serie A last season and who has been on the fringes this campaign.

Adding to squad depth is also a key reason why Milan could benefit.  

3. Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham are another club whose lack of depth could hinder them from competing at the top of their league this season. Spurs have already been without Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min at various points in 2018/19 and have struggled at times.

The addition of a talented player like Malcom would surely be a much needed boost for a club that famously did not sign anyone at all during the summer transfer window as competition for a top four finish in the Premier League promises to be stronger than ever this season.

This season and next could be make or break for Spurs if they are to realise their potential.  

2. Inter

Inter are yet another club with aspirations for whom strength in depth could prove key over the course of the season, especially if they wish to maintain their strong start to the season and seriously challenge reigning champions Juventus for the Serie A title come May.

That could make a January approach for Malcom, a player the Nerazzurri have been linked with already in recent weeks, a shrewd move to complement existing wingers and wide forwards Ivan Perisic, Matteo Politano, Keita Balde and Antonio Candreva.

Politano and Balde are currently on loan with options to buy at the end of the season.  

1. Arsenal

Arsenal have re-emerged as one of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking teams this season under the new management of Unai Emery. The Gunners already have a wealth of talent, but again, strength in depth will be key to achieve their aims this season and beyond.

It might finally be time for an upgrade on Danny Welbeck without the immediate pressure of being expected to perform. Emery has also shown he can get the best out of inconsistent young players as he has done with the recent form of Alex Iwobi.

With Arsenal coming good again, now would be the time for Malcom to board the train.  

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Arsenal Defender Among Barcelona Targets as La Liga Champions Move to Solve Injury Crisis

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has emerged as a surprise target for European giants ?Barcelona due to their current injury crises among their centre backs.

The Catalan club are in the market for an experienced central defender, following a knee injury to first choice defender Samuel Umtiti. 

Arsenal man Koscielny has been out injured since the end of last season following a cruciate ligament injury which he sustained during the Europa League semi final second leg against Atletico Madrid in May. 

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He also missed the chance to become a World Cup winner with France during the summer, subsequently announcing his retirement from international football.

He is also one of Arsenal’s longest serving players, but ?Mundo Derportivo claim he is on a list of Barcelona targets which also includes Branislav Ivanovic, Medhi Benatia, Raul Albiol and David Luiz.

This has sparked rumours about where his future may lie, with Barcelona being potential suitors. The La Liga champions are known to sign experienced central defenders to cover for their first choice centre backs, so links to Koscielny are understandable.

Arsenal FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One

Within the past four seasons they have signed Thomas Vermaelen, as well as Jérémy Mathieu who both had little game time for the club.

 

?Barcelona currently only have ?Gerard Pique and summer signing Clement Llenglet as recognised fit centre backs. Umtiti is still recovering from a knee injury and Vermaelen is out for another six weeks following a thigh injury. 

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This injury pile up has left the club very thin in defence, leading to 19-year-old Chumi getting a place on the bench against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend. 

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