It was one of those not so rare games these days. A team proposes a game, dominates, has possession of the ball, but fails to score, takes one and leaves the field defeated. It would be normal if it weren’t so dramatic for Barcelona.
After leveraging money in pre-season, selling in advance what they have and what they don’t have to form a winning team, Barça simply cannot afford to be knocked out again in the group stage of the European Champions League. . Life hangs in the balance, however, after the 1-0 defeat to Inter on Tuesday in Milan.
Barcelona need to go far in the Champions League and they need to fight for the Spanish title with Real Madrid until the end, putting 100 thousand people per game at Camp Nou, to try to leave the accounts more or less in a decent situation for the coming years.
What happens to defeat? Bayern Munich leads the “group of death” with 9 points, Inter reaches 6 and Barcelona has 3. Theoretically, all of them will beat Viktoria Pilsen in the three games of the return. Next week, Barça welcomes Inter. If he doesn’t win, he will be virtually eliminated, as he will have to score four points more than Inter, who, I repeat, will have a game against the weak Czech team. Barcelona will only survive in the Champions League if they beat Inter Milan in the fourth and, then, the decision of the other spot in the group will be left for the last rounds.
Dramatic situation aside, it is not possible to talk about today’s defeat without mentioning the disastrous refereeing of Serbian Slavko Vincic. In the second half, Barcelona had a goal by Pedri disallowed by a touch of the ball in the hand of Ansu Fati in the same play. The ball actually scrapes, but does not deviate from the trajectory. It’s a controversial move, I think any marking is acceptable.
However, in the final stretch, he had a hand on the ball in the area, by and Dumfries, much more evident than the previous move. It is almost unbelievable that the penalty was not awarded. Field refereeing and VAR lacked discretion, and Barcelona were, in fact, harmed.
Barcelona’s 72% possession of the ball resulted in 13 corners, but only 7 shots, which is obviously not enough. Inter attacked with danger in both halves, made the game plan work. The goal came in the first half, after a beautiful shot by Çalhanoğlu – Busquets arrived late to block.
Some of Xavi’s decisions can be contested, Barça lacked aggression near the area. But the scandalous refereeing is what essentially leaves Barcelona’s European season hanging in the balance. Not only the season, but the future of the club – which does not want and, by statute, cannot become SAF.