Inter hold Barcelona at Camp Nou to kill hopes of knockout stage

Barcelona hosted Inter Milan at Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night
Barcelona needed a win after a defeat in the reverse fixture last week in Milan 
The match ended in a 3-3 draw with Lewandowski’s late leveler not enough for Barca

Robert Lewandowski twice equalized late on but Barcelona’s hopes of progressing to the Champions League knockout stage look slim after a 3-3 draw with Inter.

Lewandowski’s late show keeps Barca’s chances alive, though the Blaugrana are now relying on Inter not to win either of their final two Group C matches.

Ousmane Dembele’s first-half strike put them ahead, though elimination was back on the cards as Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez struck in a chaotic second half.

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele leads celebrations after scoring the opener against Inter in the UEFA Champions League clash at Camp Nou. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

Robin Gosens thought he had sent Inter into the last 16 in the 89th minute, only for Lewandowski to score his second goal in the space of 10 minutes to snatch a point for Barca.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan cleared Lewandowski’s header off the line, while Edin Dzeko was denied by the crossbar in the opening exchanges.

Raphinha volleyed a glorious chance off target but made amends when he found Sergi Roberto, who drilled across for Dembele to turn home.

Gerard Pique inexplicably left Barella with space to smash past Marc-Andre ter Stegen five minutes into the second half, and Barca’s desperation was increased when Martinez’s strike clipped both posts before going in.

A deflected Lewandowski effort past Andre Onana dragged Barca back into the contest with eight minutes of normal time left, though they were staring down the barrel of elimination when Gosens finished past Ter Stegen following Martinez’s offload.

Yet Barca bought Lewandowski to deliver in decisive moments and the former Bayern Munich star powered home Eric Garcia’s cross in the second minute of stoppage time.

Kristjan Asllani should have won it for Inter, but was somehow denied by Ter Stegen’s feet as Barca clung on to their Champions League status for now.

Inter faced 15+ shots in the first half of a game in all competitions for the first time since November 2018, showing a timid display of character that seemed incapable of coping with Barca.

However, Simone Inzaghi’s side roared back in the second half to end a run of six straight away losses to Barca in the Champions League, albeit the Nerazzurri may feel they should have earned all three points to secure a place in the knockout stage.

Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League clash at Camp Nou. | PHOTO: Courtesy |

Xavi’s side will likely face a second Europa League campaign in as many seasons, with their reliance on Inter losing both their games against Bayern and Viktoria Plzen somewhat a pipedream for the Blaugrana.

Martinez was largely a passenger as he struggled to leave his mark against Garcia and Pique in the first half.

The Argentina international might have feared extending his poor Champions League record after an unconvincing start, but netted just his third goal in his last 19 appearances in the competition before assisting Gosens’ late strike.

Lewandowski refused to let Barca be knocked out in front of their own fans, attempting a game-high eight shots, with four of those finding the target.

His double showed yet again exactly why Barca paid the big money for him, though Lewandowski probably would not have envisaged playing Europa League football this season, as now seems likely.

Barcelona will return to La Liga action against Real Madrid in Sunday’s El Clasico to be played at Santiago Bernabeu, while Inter host Salernitana in Serie A on the same day.

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