Inter Milan (2nd, 6pts) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 9pts)
Competition/Round: 2018-19 Champions League, Group B, Matchday 4
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen, Sergi Samper (out), Lionel Messi (doubt)
Inter Milan Outs and Doubts: Dalbert, Roberto Gagliardini, João Mário (out)
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Stadio San Siro, Milan, Italy
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
How to watch on TV: Univision (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), SuperSport 5 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), others
How to stream: B/R Live (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), others
Just three days after a highly stressful, highly exciting victory over Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, Barcelona are right back in action with a big game: Inter Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League. The job for Barça here is simple: one point guarantees qualification, three points guarantee qualification and first place in Group B with two games to spare.
While the job is simple, the game won’t be: despite being quite a comfortable opponent at Camp Nou two weeks ago, Inter will be anything but that in this one: they’ve got all their best players back from injury, they’re unbeaten for more than a month in domestic play and they just won 5-0 at home at the weekend, which is a confidence booster for any team.
Inter know how big this game is, especially if Tottenham Hotspur win their game against PSV Eindhoven in the same group. If Barça win here, Spurs would be well alive in the fight with Inter for second place, so the Nerazzurri will definitely look to play their absolute best here. The good news for Barça is they might get Lionel Messi back. He hasn’t been cleared yet, but he traveled with the team and has not yet been ruled out. Even if he’s on the bench, Barça are instantly better.
If he’s not, though, the Blaugrana need 90 minutes of complete focus. They were lucky to be facing a bad Rayo team and were able to come back late on, but Inter will finish the job if Barça show the same complacency as they did on Saturday. Play hard from the beginning, don’t settle for a narrow win. Inter are too good to be taken for granted.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Rafinha, Suárez, Coutinho
Inter Milan (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi
I’m not too confident for this one. I think we’ll play well, but Inter rested a lot of their best players on Saturday and will give 120% to get a result here. And because this is Valverde’s Barça, we might eventually settle for a point in the second half: 2-2 draw.