Barcelona picked up their first win of the Champions League group stage thanks to a 2-1 victory over Inter Milan at Camp Nou. The Blaugrana had a historically bad first half and should have lost the game in the first 45 minutes, but their talent came through in the second half and Luis Suárez scored two rare Champions League goals to win the game and maybe save Ernesto Valverde’s job.
The game could not have start any worse for Barça: just three minutes in, a ball bounced the wrong way in midfield, the defenders were all out of position and Lautaro Martínez found himself alone in front of Marc-André ter Stegen. 1-0 to the visitors, and a mountain to climb early on.
Barça needed creativity, intensity and movement to break down the best defense in Europe, but they lacked all of it. The full-backs weren’t allowed to go forward in fear of the counter attacks, the midfielders weren’t ready to attack the box, the forwards were taking space from each other and only Lionel Messi came somewhat close to troubling Samir Handanovic.
While all of that happened Inter stayed solid and looked to counter, and if it wasn’t for some bad luck and a couple of amazing saves by Ter Stegen, Lautaro would have had a hat-trick and Inter would be up 3-0 or more.
At halftime we saw one of the worst performances in recent Barça history, and somehow they were only down by a goal.
Being only a goal down meant that Barça still had a chance despite such a horrible performance, and Arturo Vidal came on for Sergio Busquets to make the team more attacking and intense. Vidal made a big impact as his assist for a beautiful volley by Luis Suárez made it all square with 30 minutes left in the game, and Barça seemed to have Inter on the ropes for a while.
It was time for Ousmane Dembélé to make his second return from injury this season with a second half cameo, and the Frenchman was bright and dangerous right away. He came close on a couple of occasions, but with 10 minutes to go Barça were still searching for the winner.
With five minutes go, the winner came: Messi went on one of his runs and found Suárez at the edge of the box, and the Uruguayan got away from Diego Godín and scored the second with a great finish.
Inter threw everybody forward looking for the equalizer, but the final whistle eventually came to end a terrible performance from Barça. They were outcoached, but they have more talent and that’s why they won. That simple.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Semedo; De Jong, Busquets (Vidal 52’), Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Griezmann (Dembélé 65’)
Goals: Suárez (58’, 84’)
Inter Milan: Handanovic; Godín, De Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva (D’Ambrosio 70’), Barella, Brozovic, Asamoah; Sensi (Politano 79’); Alexis (Gagliardini 65’), Lautaro
Goal: Lautaro (3’)