The atmosphere at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night was something else. The stadium buzzed with excitement, slogans chanted with passion and the crowd as loud as it could have possibly been.
After all, Barcelona faced the first do-or-die game of their season on the night. After crashing to a 1-0 defeat to Simone Inzaghi’s men last week, the Blaugranas needed to take home three points to keep their chances in the UCL alive.
Xavi chose to start the same lineup that lost in Milan for the reverse fixture in a decision that was highly contested before the game. Clearly, the manager retained faith in his players for the big game, yet it seemed counter-intuitive to feature a team with no changes.
Barcelona were committed to the cause from the opening minute, constantly pushing numbers forward and looking for a goal. Yet, they did not create many clear-cut chances, and Inter looked deadly on the counter.
The visitors had a golden chance in the 16th minute when Edin Dzeko got onto the end of Calhanoglu’s set-piece delivery. His effort clattered against the bottom of the crossbar before falling on the goal line. Eventually, Ter Stegen was there to collect.
A key moment came at the half-hour mark when Sergi Roberto threatened Andre Onana with a low strike. The former Ajax man spilt the ball to Robert Lewandowski’s path but did just enough to parry the ball away.
Barcelona’s big moment in the first half came at the 40-minute mark. Raphinha began the move, finding Roberto in the box and taking complete advantage of Inter’s momentary lapse in concentration.
The right-back immediately played a low ball into the path of Ousmane Dembele who made no mistake in sending the ball into the net. The Frenchman’s celebration, in itself, spoke volumes as to what the goal meant to Barcelona.
Yet, it did not take long for Inter to equalise. In what was a bizarre goal, Gerard Pique asked Barcelona’s defence to lower their guard as Bastoni sent a cross into the box and Barella calmly put the ball past Ter Stegen with no challenge.
Both sides began making mistakes in the next phase of the game. Gavi and Ter Stegen had to make game-changing saves at Barcelona’s end while Onana stood strong with de Vries to hold off the hosts at the other.
Inter eventually got their second goal through a Hakan Calhanoglu pass that found Lautaro Martinez in the box. The Argentine has been starved for goals this season but did not lack a killed instinct in front of goal as he danced past one defender and slammed the ball onto the woodwork and into the goal.
Robert Lewandowski scored off a rebound in the 70th minute, but his goal was ruled out for offside.
Dembele had a great chance in the 80th minute as he was clear on goal. However, his decision to slow down the play backfired.
Robert Lewandowski emphatically found an equaliser in a crowded penalty box. His initial header was blocked by Bastoni, but the Pole was on hand to finish the rebound. With ten minutes to go, the Catalans had pulled back the scoreline to 2-2.
The Nerazzurri scored at the death on a rampant counter-attack. Martinez found Gosens in the area with the goal gaping.
Hope refused to die on the night as Lewandowski once again dominated the air to give Barcelona another chance. The score was back to 3-3, and that is all she wrote.
With this result, Barcelona are not out of the UCL just yet, but will have to pray for Inter’s remaining results to go their way. A draw was the lesser of the two evils on the night, but Barcelona are staring down a dangerous barrel once again.