It really is a game of two halves
It may be a well-worn cliche but Barcelona’s win over Inter was the latest example of how football can be a game of two halves. Inter dominated the first and should have had more than one goal to show for their efforts, but Barca hit back in the second to pull off the win.
Lautauro Martinez exposed Barcelona’s defensive weaknesses again at the Camp Nou, holding off Clement Lenglet to open the scoring inside three minutes.
The Argentinian might have had more too but was denied a second by a brilliant save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Antonio Candreva had a goal chalked off, while Stefano Sensi fired over as Antonio Conte’s side caused the hosts all sorts of problems in the opening 45 minutes.
But the game changed after the break. Arturo Vidal (more on him later) was introduced and made a difference, Suarez equalised and suddenly it was the hosts who were in control and looking like the only team who were going to win the match.
Some brilliant play from Messi and Suarez saw the Catalan giants win it late on and left Conte complaining that “losing like this leaves a bad taste.”
Vidal still has a role to play for Barca
Arturo Vidal is yet to start a game for Barcelona this season, but his introduction in the 53rd minute for Sergio Busquets helped turn the game for the hosts.
The Chilean went close with a shot within minutes of his arrival and then chipped the ball over to Luis Suarez to volley home the equaliser.
Vidal’s energy, drive and grit helped Barcelona take the game to their opponents and ultimately come out on top despite struggling against Conte’s men in the first half.
Barcelona have an overabundance of midfielders which has meant Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Carles Alena have all struggled for minutes this season.
However, Vidal showed on Wednesday night that he still has plenty to offer and can still be a key player for the team.
Suarez and Messi make the difference
Luis Suarez did not have his best night once again but still managed to come up with the goods, scoring twice to win the game for the hosts.
Two clinical finishes from the Uruguayan handed Barca all three points and will have quietened the striker’s growing critics. Well, maybe,
Suarez has looked off the pace in the early stages of the season, while Antoine Griezmann has struggled to make an impact stuck out on the left, and Valverde will have decisions to make over his attack when everyone is fit.
Yet Barca did not just have Suarez to thank for the win. Messi was back in the team from the start and a growing influence on the game as he works his way back from injury.
Lionel Messi's game by numbers vs. Inter Milan:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 2, 2019
17 total duels
10 take-ons completed
6 chances created
3 fouls won
3 total crosses
The GOAT set up the winner with a brilliant run and spoke after about his happiness at managing to get 90 minutes under his belt after an injury-interrupted start to the campaign.