BARCELONA 1 Pique 83
The atmosphere at the Nou Camp was electrifying, local fans had almost no doubt that Barcelona had the talent and class to win it. However Inter had an advantage that would be difficult to overturn as they had beaten Barca three goals to one at the San Siro, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Even before the game Jose Mourinho had begun with the mind games, as just 10 minutes before the start he decided to take off Goran Pandev, an attacking player, replacing him with Cristian Chivu, a more defensive one. This decision set the tone of the game by exchanging an attacker with a defender. Inter were just looking to defend their advantage and frustrate the Catalans – which they did with great success as Barcelona could find no way through the blue and black wall.
Barca went straight to business and on the second minute when Pedro had a chance to put the home side ahead, his shot went just wide. It was no surprise that Barcelona had 24 shot on goal and 86% of possession while the Nerazzurri had one shot and a mere 14% of possession, they didn’t have to score all they had to do was defend and keep a cool head. They managed to do so, up until the 27th minute of the first half when Thiago Motta got a straight red card after a hand in the face of Sergi Busquets . Inter were now down to 10 men and the ex- Barcelona man will now miss the final. Nearly immediately after the sending off, Lionel Messi had an opportunity but somehow Julio Cesar managed to fingertip it away, still Inter manage to hold on after a siege of Barcelona attacks. The Nerazzurri had been almost impenetrable even with a man down, they did this by smothering Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Messi, anytime they had the ball they were immediately surrounded by blue and black shirts becoming unable to produce anything worthwhile.
However this did not stop Barca from trying as the second half started the same way the first ended. It could be felt all around the Camp Nou that Barca had let their nerves. The pressure of what this game means, get to them as they started to rely increasingly on long hopeful balls into the area. Barca may have lost creativity but it was Inter that was resorting to the most boring tactic which was just to get everyone behind the ball and defend. If you employ this tactic, it is only a matter of time before something gets through or someone makes a mistake. It took Barca 81 minutes to get another opportunity but it was shot wide by Bojan Krkic. The break did finally come two minutes later as Gerard Pique who scored the goal in the first leg, spun around to avoid Cordaba and Cesar and slid the ball into an empty net and the Camp Nou erupted with noise as hope was restored. Deep into stoppages, Bojan atoned for his earlier miss but had it scrubbed off for a dubious handball by Yaya Toure. A 10 man Inter were able to hold off the onslaught of attack and have reached the final for the first time since 1972.