Friday, September 18, 2020

Barcelona 2-1 Inter: Messi returns as sublime Suarez secures comeback

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Oct 2019

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Luis Suarez was Barcelona’s hero as the striker scored twice – including a late winner – to secure a 2-1 Champions League victory over Inter at Camp Nou, with Lionel Messi impressing upon his return from injury.

Although Messi had been considered a doubt after sustaining a thigh injury against Villarreal, he came straight into the line-up for his second start of the season and set Suarez up for his 84th-minute decider, as Barca just about did enough to see off the Serie A leaders.

An Argentinian No.10 was on the scoresheet in only the second minute of the match, but it was not the returning Messi, as Lautaro Martinez got his first ever Champions League goal.

Barca – who were dominated in the first half – took charge after the interval and restored parity through Suarez’s fine volley.

The Uruguay striker completed the turnaround six minutes from time with a similarly gorgeous effort after Messi’s wonderful run.

Inter enjoyed a lightning start that was a sign of things to come in the first half and took the lead in the second minute – Martinez racing clear and holding off Clement Lenglet before finding the bottom-right corner.

Nelson Semedo made a vital block to deny Alexis Sanchez just past the half-hour mark, a few minutes before Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a stunning save to keep Martinez’s goal-bound header out.

Barca showed signs of improvement after the break and got the leveller just before the hour, Suarez lashing a terrific volley down to Samir Handanovic’s left.

Griezmann should have at least tested Handanovic soon after but sliced into the side-netting after being played into the left side of the box by Messi.

However, Suarez ensured Messi’s excellent performance was not for nothing, as Barca’s talisman found the Uruguayan on the edge of the box and he slotted home the winner in nonchalant fashion after an exquisite touch left his compatriot Diego Godin for dead.

 

What does it mean? Barca dig deep

It looked as though Barca were only going to have two points to show from their first two Group F games, undoubtedly a disappointing haul that would have done little to improve Ernesto Valverde’s standing in the eyes of supporters.

But Suarez’s winner takes them level on four points with Borussia Dortmund at the top, leaving Inter bottom of the pile.

Suave Suarez stylishly sinks Nerazzurri

You will not see many better doubles in the Champions League this season than Suarez’s on Wednesday. A sweet volley followed by the coolest of finishes after an immaculate first touch – it was Suarez at his very best.

Griez-frightening

While he might be considered an easy target, once again Griezmann’s performance was not up to scratch. He looks a shadow of the player who starred so regularly for Atletico Madrid, as he barely made an impact on the Inter defence.

Key Opta Facts

– For the first time since 2009-10, Inter have not won either of their first two games in the Champions League group stage.
– Barcelona have won all five of their home Champions League games against Inter.
– Inter gave up a lead to lose in the Champions League for only for the third time.
– Martinez’s goal (1:59) was the fastest scored by Inter in the Champions League since Dejan Stankovic scored after 26 seconds v Schalke in April 2011.
– Suarez scored in the Champions League group stage for the first time since September 2016.

What’s next?

Barca have LaLiga clashes with Sevilla and Eibar on the next two weekends before returning to European action at Slavia Prague on October 23. Inter host Borussia Dortmund the same day as they aim to get their first win of the group stage, following a top-of-the-table Serie A meeting with Juventus and then a trip to Sassuolo.

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