Barcelona Crash Out of Champions League
Barca's fans were in tears last night as their dreams of winning a historic second Champions League title in a row were ripped up by a defiant - and let's face it incredibly dull - Inter Milan team, led by Jose Mourinho, revelling in his role as pantomime villain.
The damage was done in the first leg, when Inter Milan's counter attack tactics won them an unlikely 3-1 victory. You knew when they came to Camp Nou it was going to be a day of defending.
Perhaps knowing they were in for a tough day, the Barcelona players quickly got frustrated and mid-way through the first half Sergi Busquets was guilty of a despicable piece of gamesmanship, holding his face in simulated agony when Thiago Motta outstretched his arm innocuously catching him. The referee weakly gave a red card, meaning that Motta will miss the final in Madrid, and that Inter were reduced to ten men for the rest of the 90 minutes. Of course that simply made the Italians play even more defensively.
Barca had their chances nonetheless, as you'd expect when they enjoyed almost uncontested possession. Messi and Ibrahimovic missed chances, and Bojan missed an easy header in the second half. Finally Pique brought the tie to life when he was played in behind the Inter back four and skillfully twisted past a last ditch tackle to calmly slot home. A great goal and suddenly hopes were raised - could Barcelona repeat the dramatic semi-finals of 2009 when Iniesta scored in the 91st minute against a similarly defensive Chelsea team?
The answer was yes... and no. After some clever work by Barcelona the ball fell to Bojan in the box and his finish was sublime. But just as the Barca fans were up in their seats the play was called back for a soft handball by Keita in the build up.
Barcelona will now turn to La Liga in the hope of salvaging their season.