Barcelona in Champions League

Marcus Newton
November 7, 2018

The result nevertheless meant Barcelona became the first side to secure qualification for the knockout.

The forward returned to training last week but was not expected to feature for Barcelona for at least another week.

Barca were on the front foot from kick-off and Ousmane Dembele forced Handanovic into the first of a series of fine saves with a sharp curling strike just a minute into the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo may have one more goal than Mauro Icardi in Serie A this season, having netted seven compared to the Argentine's six, but the Inter striker's wife and representative Wanda Nara has pointed out that Ronaldo has played more matches.

Messi's return means Barcelona are without just three first-team players, with Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper missing the trip to Milan. Manager Ernesto Valverde will be buoyed by the presence of Lionel Messi with the travelling squad in what will be a key European tie.

"We're all happy for Malcom", Busquets said. "So I leave Milan happy".

But his saves kept the hosts in the game right until the end, and Icardi took the one chance he had to save a point. Inter plays Tottenham next.

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Leo Messi will not play against Inter in the Champions League.

Those rumours have contributed to a hard start to life in Spain, which was perhaps behind the tears that followed his goal as he celebrated with his teammates in the corner of the San Siro pitch.

"It was a decision shared by the team", Valverde said. We know we have to improve, but the important thing is the goal difference. It was a top match and very intense, with lots of tackles. "What we won't do is take any risks".

Barcelona dominated and had 65 percent of the possession, with 27 shots to Inter's 10. He's not getting the minutes he wants, but in training he's working really hard.

But Inter substitute Lautaro Martinez also had an immediate impact as his cross was deflected into the path of Icardi, who fired in his third goal in four matches in the competition.

As the video shows, Messi has scored goals against AC Milan, Roma, Juventus but he has not scored against Inter Milan in three different occasions and given his injury and well-being, it is highly unlikely that Messi would make a fourth appearance against Inter and ultimately break the deadlock.

"I think the goal was deserved because of how the team reacted after Barcelona's goal", Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said.

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