INT 1-1 BAR
1. Barca’s record vs Italian teams since start of 2017 has been (first home, then away)
vs Juve: Drew 0-0, Lost 0-3
vs Juve: Beat 3-0, Drew 0-0
vs Roma: Beat 3-1, Lost 0-3
vs Inter Milan: Beat 2-0, ….
Hence I was nervous about their Inter Milan trip.
2. The team wasn’t much nervous. Despite rains and a slippery pitch, Barcelona were slick, composed, high on pressing and very organised defensively.
3. The Croatian influence was high on the game. Around the 35th min the commentators said ‘Rakitic, now Brozovic, to Perisic, to Modric!’
4. Marc Andre Ter Stegen didn’t even need to be on pitch the entire first half as Inter had zero shots at goal.
5. Rakitic was my outstanding player of the match, despite couple of scoring chances wasted. Alba was good too.
6. There was this 60th – 70th min phase when Inter came close to scoring twice through incisive runs by Perisic.7. Suarez’s poor away form in Champions League again came to the fore as he missed chance after chance.
8. Valverde’s surprises worked big time. He unexpectedly dropped Rafinha, started with Dembele (who was good) and unexpectedly got Malcolm on pitch (just when you thought Rafinha may come).9. When Malcolm scored, Barca were sealing group topper position and would have got two games to relax. A Busquets error led to an Icardi equaliser.
10. Barcelona should still comfortably top this group. That they did it despite two games without Messi bodes well for rest of the season.
11. The Napoli vs (do or die situation) Paris St Germain match was distracting my attention from this game. Which also means Barcelona were relatively comfortable (although wasteful) entire night.