Luis Suarez was the saviour as Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Inter Milan 2-1 at Camp Nou in a UEFA Champions League Group F tie.
The game was off to the worst possible start for Barcelona, with Inter Milan grabbing the lead in the second minute through Lautaro Martinez. The Argentine was sent through on goal after a mix-up in the midfield and made no error in slotting the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Inter Milan went into half-time with a well-deserved lead.
Post the interval, however, the Catalans looked much more threatening, with the introduction of Arturo Vidal giving them an added dimension in the opposition half. The hosts levelled things up in the 58th minute, when Luis Suarez scored a wondrous first-time volley from Vidal’s cross.
Two minutes later, Barcelona should have been awarded a penalty when Kwadwo Asamoah barged into Suarez. But, Suarez was inexplicably ruled offside. The La Liga champions, though, completed the comeback six minutes from the end of regulation time, when Suarez finished off a move after some fantastic solo work by Lionel Messi.
With three points in the bag, Barcelona leapt to the top of the Group F standings, level with Borussia Dortmund, albeit with a better goal difference. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men, following a hard-fought win against Inter Milan.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
A tough start to the game, but he could not have done anything to stop Lautaro Martinez’s effort. Did well to deny the Argentine later on in the first half, a key stop to keep Barcelona in the game. Decisive with the ball at his feet. Quick thinking initiated the counter attacking move that led to the winner.
Sergi Roberto: 6/10
Starting as the right-back for a second successive game, Roberto blew hot and cold over the course of the game. Sloppy with the ball early on, the Spanish international seemed hesitant in charging forward when Inter Milan were taking the game to Barcelona. Much improved in the second half and set Antoine Griezmann up with a chance. Sub-par overall.
Gerard Pique: 5/10
Coming off arguably his best performance of the season so far, Pique needed to continue in the same vein to keep a dangerous Inter Milan attack at bay. But, what transpired was a horrendous showing, with Pique nowhere to be seen when Martinez netted the opener. All over the place in a disastrous first half. Much more settled post the break, with Barcelona dominating.
Clement Lenglet: 5/10
Like his central defensive partner, Lenglet could not quite find his feet in a difficult first half. Ought to have shown more strength against Martinez for the opener, although he was left high and dry by Pique in the first place. Looked comfortable once Alexis Sanchez was taken off in the second half.
Nelson Semedo: 8/10
Like many of his teammates, Semedo stuttered early on, particularly because he was playing as a makeshift left-back. But, once he came into his own after an early onslaught and made a crucial block on Alexis Sanchez to keep the score at 1-0 before making another decisive intervention. Improved going forward as the game went on, especially after Ousmane Dembele was introduced.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Yet another performance that showed that de Jong is fast becoming an indispensable figure for Barcelona. In a testing first half, the Dutchman was the only Barcelona player who did not disappoint, keeping things ticking for his side. Much more incisive in the second half and did not shy away from doing the legwork off the ball either.
Sergio Busquets: 5/10
A game to forget for Busquets, in what was another indication that he is on the decline. Kept the tempo of the game high and even got himself into good scoring positions on the odd occasion. But, he was overrun quite easily when Inter initiated their counters. Taken off for Arturo Vidal, which ended up being an inspired decision.
Much like de Jong, Arthur produced a fantastic all round performance. The Brazilian pulled the strings effortlessly at times and completed more passes than any player in the game (100). Also made the most recoveries (14), which shows just how effective he is both on and off the ball. One of Barcelona’s best players this season.
Lionel Messi: 7/10
Back into the side after just a one-game layoff, it was clear that Messi was not fully fit. But, fortunately for Barcelona, he did not break down and improved his sharpness as the game went on. By the end of the game, Messi was simply unstoppable. Numbers paint quite the picture, with Messi creating 6 chances, making 2 key passes and winning 13 of his 17 duels.
His contribution for the winner was simply breathtaking. Messi skipped past Kwadwo Asamoah before taking Stefan de Vrij, Milan Skriniar and Marcelo Brozovic out of the game with his hold-up play, then laid the ball for Suarez. The mere presence of the Barcelona captain on the pitch lifts the team, which was evident in the second half.
Antoine Griezmann: 5/10
The struggles continued for Griezmann, who just does not seem to be able to get into the game from the left side of the attack. While the Frenchman worked his socks off in the defensive phase of the game, he was unable to influence the proceedings when on the ball.
Luis Suarez: 8/10
For much of the game, Suarez was on the periphery, and it looked as if his frustrations in Europe would continue once again. But, in the second half, the Uruguayan showed his killer instinct. The shot for the first goal was quite sumptuous, volleying in the ball from the edge of the box.
2 – Luis Suarez scored as many goals in the game against Internazionale (two) as he had in his previous two Champions League campaigns combined (two goals in 20 apps). Critical. pic.twitter.com/3bXdvM3SPp
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 2, 2019
Post that strike, Suarez was in the mood and posed a lot of danger in and around the Inter Milan box. Still had a lot to do despite the brilliant solo work from Messi, with his first touch sending him clean through on goal. With three goals in two games, Suarez will now hope to turn on the style and signal a decisive return to form.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
Barcelona were headed nowhere in an atrocious first half. But, the introduction of Vidal turned the tide for the hosts, who were quite imposing with the Chilean on the field due to his energetic presence. Provided the assist for Suarez’s first with a pinpoint cross. Such a dynamic midfielder.
Ousmane Dembele: 6/10
With a quarter of the game left, Dembele was given the chance to ease his way back into the fold. Had the Inter Milan defenders backpedaling with his driving runs, but lacked an end product. Still, a positive cameo.