Madrid (Spain), Oct 13 (UiTV/IANS) – FC Barcelona were held 3-3 at home by Inter Milan in a thrilling match in the group stage of the Champions League which means it will take a miracle for them to continue in the tournament.
The result on Wednesday night leaves Barca with four points from four games, three behind Inter in Group C, who have the better head-to-head record and who will ensure their place in the next round with a win at home to Viktoria Plzen, who have lost all four group games, conceding 16 goals in the process.
Barca, meanwhile, have to win at home to Bayern Munich and away to Plzen and hope Inter fail to win either of their remaining games.
The match turned into an end-to-end thriller, with the result in doubt until the final whistle.
Inter began brightly and Edin Dzeko had the first chance with a header that rattled the Barca crossbar before the home side came increasingly into the game.
Barca’s pressure high up the pitch began to force errors from the Italians and the chances started to arrive.
Sergi Roberto, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha all had chances before Roberto combined with Raphinha to serve the ball for Ousmane Dembele to score from close range five minutes before the break, reports Xinhua.
Inter were level five minutes into the second half when Nicolo Barella took advantage of a big loss of concentration from Gerard Pique to sneak in behind the Barca defense and beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a first-time shot.
Suddenly, Inter were creating chances, with Gavi blocking Dzeko’s volley before ter Stegen denied Hakan Calhanoglu’s left-footed effort and got down well to stop Lautaro Martinez’s goalbound header.
A goal was coming and it was delivered by Martinez, who controlled well and fired home off both posts, with the Barca defense all over the place.
Lewandowski drew Barca level thanks to a deflection with eight minutes left, but with Barca stretched looking for a winning goal, Gosens finished a perfect counter-attack to put Inter 3-2 ahead.
Lewandowski made it 3-3 from Eric Garcia’s cross in the second of six minutes of injury time to give Barca a lifeline, and ter Stegen then produced a brilliant save to stop Martinez from scoring a fourth for Inter in a thrilling finish.
Earlier in the day, a sublime performance from Club Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet helped his side cling on for a 0-0 draw away to Atletico Madrid in Group B.
The result means the Belgian side have qualified for the last 16 of the competition, but leave Atletico in a delicate situation with just four points from four games and with a lot of work to do in the last two games.
The Spanish side have failed to score in five of their last six Champions League matches, although on Tuesday a lot of the responsibility was down to Mignolet, who produced a string of excellent stops, including a first-half save to frustrate Antoine Griezmann and second-half stops from Alvaro Morata and Matheus Cunha.
Brugge ended the game with ten men after Kamal Sowah was shown a second yellow card in the 92nd minute, but there was no time for Atletico to force a much-needed winner.