Published on 5 Oct 2022 1:13 pm (UK Time)
Despite the latter not having much to do, André Onana still won the goalkeeping match against Marc-André ter Stegen. Despite a shaky start, and multiple calls for penatly both way, Inter Milan hold on for the 1-0 victory over Barcelona.
The stage is set at the San Siro as coming into the match Ter Stegen has only conceded 4 goals as Barcelona are top of the table in La Liga (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/63105654) while Inter Milan, thought by many to be a contender (https://worldinsport.com/who-will-win-the-2022-23-scudetto/#comment-1211215495325167019) have been struggling and mightily, most recently losing 2-1 to AS Roma. The match begins and Barcelona is imposing their will, comfortably creating multiple opportunities, as Inter looks listless and out-matched. Ousmane Dembélé quickly shows why Xavi has so much faith in him, as his crossing and dribbling become a problem for Inter. Simone Inzaghi urges his team to move up the pitch and apply more pressure on the Barcelona players. Although the game plan is to hurt Barcelona on the counterattack, Inter Milan is too slow and out-of-sorts to produce anything close to worrisome for Ter Stegen. The one bright spot in the opening 20 minutes for Inzaghi’s side is Federico Dimarco: his first touch, through balls to Lautaro Martinez and defensive efforts show why he is wanted by the top clubs in Europe.
Controversy ignites the crowd… and the players
A superb ball by a seemingly rejuvenated Stefan de Vrij gives Inter their best chance of the match, with there even being a call for a penalty. Not only is there no penalty due to an offside, but a yellow card is awarded to Barella for his complaining. The referee’s job would only get harder, as this controversy at the quarter-hour mark breathes new life into the Nerazzurri. By the half hour mark, Inter has clearly picked up the pace and things are more upbeat both on and off the pitch as the crowd is behind the home side, even when the pass is not on target, the crowd still cheers for Inter. Barcelona does not back down and when Pedri sprints from the whole pitch after a failed Inter Milan counter and passes it to Dembélé, the man of the match so far, magic is expected to ensue. It does, as he turns and Dimarco turns the wrong way but he keeps dribbling and the result is not magical but underwhelming: a shot on the side of the goal. Back to Inter, as Correa with a composed finished seemingly gives Inter the lead. It was not to be, Inter are offside again. This back and forth action is interrupted by Hakan Çalhanoğlu who shoots the ball into the bottom right corner, leaving no chance for Ter Stegen to save it
LewanGOALski was contained
The second half begins and Inter comes out aggressive, playing physically and playing forward. De Vrij, perhaps a point to prove to his coach, does a great job of containing Robert Lewandoski, something that would perpetuate through the rest of the game as the prolific striker with an expected goal ratio of 1.50 (more than 1 goal per game) cannot seem to get a single chance on target. Rafinha gets past three Inter Milan players, as Dembélé hits the post at the hour mark, possibly the best opportunity of the whole game. Another potential penalty and another yellow card, this time Pedri’s goal was disallowed due to a handball by 19 year old Ansu Fati and Xavi is given a yellow card for protesting. Nearly 500 completed passes for the visiting team and yet no goal. Barcelona have motive to be frustrated, as much like the game against Bayern Munich, they are not rewarded for a good showing. André Onana what’s his name, while not being fourfiveseconds closer to the Champions League, is slowly cementing himself as Inter’s go to goalkeeper over Samir Handanović by keeping clean sheets against formidable sides. Barcelona are getting impatient as extra time is looming and Milan Škriniar uses his back to push Lewandoski to the ground. Not enough to be penalised but enough to stop Lewandoski, truly a veteran move. After another dismissed penatly, Inter hold on.
Looking ahead to Camp Nou
Things be different at Camp Nou. Ousmane Dembélé will continue wreaking havoc on Inter’s defense and Lewandoski will find his form sooner rather than later. On the Inter side of things, an easier schedule and time for their injured players such as Romelu Lukkaku, Marcelo Brozovic and Dalbert could mean Inter emerge victorious in Spain as well. We will only have to wait a little more than a week to find out!