Inter Milan 1-1 Barcelona: Hits and Flops
Inter Milan hosted Barcelona on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League in a fixture which was to determine who will top Group B. Both teams sat atop the standings, with Barcelona in the first position, having won all three of their matches, while Inter’s only blemish came in their 2-0 loss to Barcelona on Matchday 3.
The game promised plenty of excitement, as the two clubs are among the most in form in Europe at the moment, and possess numerous quality players who can decide the game in an instant.
However, for all of the pre-match hype, the game did not live up to expectations in the first half, as both teams were slow out of the block, tactically cancelling out each other and failing to considerably trouble the opposition goal.
The match only came to life in the second half when Malcom scored the opener for Barcelona with Mauro Icardi equalizing moments later. The result moved Barcelona onto 10 points and they became the first side to book their place in the second round, while Inter Milan moved onto seven points, but still have a little work to do following Tottenham’s rallying comeback victory against PSV at Wembley.
The sheer number of internationals on display meant that it was expected that the players would put up a show befitting their talents. However, while some shone like a million stars, others failed to step up to the plate. Here we present the hits and flops from the match.
Flop #3 Ousmane Dembele
The 21-year-old was made the-then most expensive player for Barcelona in the summer of 2017 when the club identified him as the player to replace Neymar, following his record-breaking departure to PSG. The Blaugrana then proceeded to pay Dortmund the lump sum of almost €145 for the Frenchman’s services.
Since then, Dembele has not done too much to justify that figure, as an injury-ravaged first season limited his impact, and he struggled to maintain the levels he showed at Dortmund.
It was expected that he would depart the Nou Camp this season, and this was further heightened with the arrival of Malcom from Bordeaux, but Ernesto Valverde decided against moving him on, and Dembele started the season in impressive fashion.
Since then, however, he has fallen back out of contention, and got a rare chance to impress from the start against Inter Milan.
It is a chance which he failed to take, as he struggled to remain in sync with his teammates, taking one too many touches. The summation of his night was when he elected to beat his marker and lost the ball rather than play in either Suarez or Sergi Roberto who were free, much to the consternation of his Uruguayan teammate.
His horrible night was brought to an end in the 81st minute when he was replaced by Malcom, and his case was not helped by the fact that the Brazilian scored just moments into his introduction, and would further heighten the speculations linking Dembele with a move away from Barcelona.