A late Ansu Fati strike handed Barcelona a 2-1 win over Inter Milan, who crashed out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
A largely second-string Barcelona side took the field at San Siro against Inter Milan and it was evident from the word go that certain players had a point to prove. A solid start to the game was followed by the opening goal, as Carles Perez broke the deadlock midway through the first half after some fine work by Antoine Griezmann.
Inter Milan posed a lot of threat on the other end and grabbed a deserved equaliser as half-time neared, with Neto unable to do anything about Romelu Lukaku’s fiercely driven shot. Chances continued to flow on either end, but Barcelona would have the last laugh when Ansu Fati scored from the edge of the box.
The result meant Barcelona ended their group stage campaign unbeaten, amassing 14 out of the possible 18 points, while Inter Milan were booted out of the competition. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
A difficult opposition to make your debut against. Neto, though, gave a good account of himself on Tuesday, in what was a busy evening for him. Made seven saves in all, doing well to keep Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, among others at bay. Could not have done much to deny Lukaku for his goal, having been at full stretch.
Jean-Clair Todibo: 7/10
In what was a rare start, Todibo made quite an impression. Kept on his toes all game long by Martinez, Todibo managed to cover himself in glory, bar the odd occasion when the Argentine beat him well. Won a staggering 8 tackles in addition to 3 aerial duels, this was a step in the right direction for the young Frenchman.
Samuel Umtiti: 5/10
With the El Clasico looming, this was Umtiti’s chance to stake claim for the spot alongside Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence. However, the 90 minutes that ensued would represent a missed opportunity for the Frenchman, who struggled to contain Lukaku at times and should have been tighter to him for Inter’s goal. Needs to be more imposing.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
Better than Umtiti, but Lenglet too, was not entirely comfortable at the back on Tuesday. Did have a noteworthy moment in the game, though, as he produced a superb block on Lukaku. Ought to have done better with a chance at the other end.
Moussa Wague: 7/10
With Sergi Roberto rested, Wague got the chance to make a rare appearance in the side. The young wing-back was a lively presence on the right flank, presenting himself as a constant outlet in the final third, although his end product was lacking on the day. Decent in the defensive phase as well.
Carles Alena: 8/10
Starts have been hard to come by for Alena this season, so this was the Spaniard’s chance to make his mark and give Valverde some food for thought. And, that is exactly what Alena did, with the young midfielder being a bundle of energy, running himself into the ground off the ball and linking up smartly with Perez and Antoine Griezmann. Needs to be trusted more by Valverde.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
Back from the dead, Rakitic is starting to establish himself as a regular once again. Against Inter, the Croat started as the holding midfielder, but was unable to impose himself in the game, as the hosts almost passed him by at times. Drove Barcelona well when on the ball, he ought to have done enough to continue in the starting lineup.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
A game of hits and misses for Vidal, who was got the decisive touch before Carles Perez netted the opening goal. Flitted in and out of the game otherwise, but was willing to put in the hard yards off the ball, as always. Inches away from scoring a goal himself.
Junior Firpo: 6/10
Deployed in a more advanced position than usual, Firpo ought to have done better with respect to his deliveries. But, his end product left a lot to be desired. Defensively, he did not exactly cover himself in glory either, and the summer signing needs to find that consistent touch in order to become a regular when Jordi Alba is fit.
Antoine Griezmann: 7/10
Leading the line in the absence of Luis Suarez, Griezmann looked utterly comfortable; signs that he is starting to finally find his feet at Barcelona. A delightful pass through the lines set Perez up for his goal and the Frenchman seemed to be enjoying himself all throughout. Given a breather with 30 minutes left.
Carles Perez: 8/10
Playing more centrally than usual, Perez posed a constant threat, looking to put the Inter Milan defenders under the cosh. Had a shot blocked early on, in a moment wherein he looked purposeful. In the right place at the right time when scoring the opening goal, Perez was calm and composed. A solid way to mark his full Champions League debut.
Luis Suarez: 7/10
On for Griezmann, Suarez was lively during his cameo, continuing from where the Frenchman had left off and linking up well with Alena. The wait for the elusive Champions League away goal, though, continues.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Dutchman de Jong replaced Rakitic and was an instant upgrade on the Croat from the deep lying midfield role. Played a crucial role in the build-up to Ansu Fati’s goal, with his driving run creating a lot of problems for the Inter Milan backline.
Ansu Fati: 7/10
Too young to party. Too young to vote. But Ansu Fati joined another special club last night ✨ pic.twitter.com/hqBIRJ4Gfn
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 11, 2019
A late introduction is seldom given a rating. However, the fact that Fati scored the match winner earns him a 7. Not to mention, the finish was something special and made him a record breaker in the process.