Robert Lewandowski scored a brace in an exciting 3-3 draw with Italian champions Inter Milan. The Catalans are now at risk of dropping to the Europa League if Inter Milan wins their next game against Viktoria Plzen.
Despite the plethora of stars that Barcelona signed this summer, Los Blaugrana is at the risk of crashing to the Europa League for the second time in two years. Perhaps it is time to question the tactical acumen of Xavi, who is yet to get the best out of the shiny new toys he has this season.
With El Clasico at the weekend, Barcelona put up an improved performance against Inter Milan on Wednesday night. The Catalan giants, who sit atop the La Liga table with a superior goal difference to Real Madrid, have put up insipid performances in their last two games.
Trailing the Italian champions in the group, Barcelona needed a win to make their chances of qualification easy. Elementary mistakes have ensured they not only have a mountain to climb but also need a miracle to avoid dropping to the less fancied Europa League. On a night of drama, Barcelona played an exciting 3-3 draw with Inter Milan.
Barcelona walk a tightrope in the Champions League
After the first-leg loss to Inter Milan in the Champions League, Barcelona had plenty of complaints. The Catalan giants blamed the officiating of the game and were less than pleased with the pitch. They had the opportunity to correct the anomalies of the first leg but blew away their chance as they managed to salvage a point against the Italians.
The output in the Champions League this season makes a mockery of what Barcelona spent in the summer. Los Blaugrana spent 150m euros in the summer, but the only good thing this season is their position in La Liga. Barcelona now need a miracle to avoid a second consecutive season of dropping to the Europa League.
Xavi Hernandez is building a negative legacy for his young coaching career in Europe. With the plethora of stars at his behest, the Barcelona legend has failed to make the side an intimidating force in Europe. They now need to win their last two games, which include a home tie against Bayern Munich and hope the Italians do not get more than a point in their final two group games.
Barcelona plays Bayern Munich next, but the result will be meaningless if Inter beats Viktoria Plzen.
How it happened
Barcelona knew the assignment at hand. Anything less than a victory was a failure, but they should thank their stars they managed to get a late equalizer. A loss would have confirmed their place in the Europa League. As it is, they might have postponed the evil day.
Barcelona started the game brightly, taking the game to Inter, who were content with keeping the Spanish side at bay. They played deep and soaked the pressure mounted by the Catalan side. Ousmane Dembele, however, found the breakthrough in the 40th minute.
For many, the game was over as they expected Barcelona to hold on to their lead, but inter had a few tricks up their sleeve. They got their equalizer five minutes after the restart through Nicola Barrela. Inter then took the lead 15 minutes later through Lautaro Martinez. Barcelona equalized through Lewandowski but again went behind when Goosens netted an 89th-minute goal. The advantage didn’t last long, as Lewandowski got his brace two minutes into added time.
Xavi can blame injuries for his setbacks, but the Champions League results will dig a deep hole in the finances of the Catalan side. Xavi now focuses his mind on the El Clasico coming this weekend.