Lorenzo Bettoni takes you behind the scenes of Inter’s win over Barcelona in the Champions League, with Nerazzurri ultras backing Simone Inzaghi and a furious Xavi on the touchline.
Inter secured a key victory over the Catalans at San Siro last night. Football Italia was among the accredited media at the game, so here are the five things you may have missed by watching the match on TV.
Inzaghi backed by Inter fans
The Nerazzurri boss was under pressure, having lost five of the previous 10 games across all competitions. One of his potential successors, Paulo Sousa, was in the stands to watch the game, but Beppe Marotta reassured the Inter boss prior to kick-off saying that he trusted Inzaghi to end Inter’s crisis. A few Inter fans booed Inzaghi when the line-ups were announced before the start of the match, but the Curva Nord ultras shouted his name during the first half, showing their support for the coach.
From the outside, it was just a regular game for Inzaghi, who spent most of the match standing in front of the dugout to guide his lads. Surely, he did feel the pressure, but eventually, he managed to secure a key win for Inter’s season and, perhaps, for his job as well.
The Italy defender was among the few players standing on the touchline while waiting for the verdict of a late silent VAR check for a potential Denzel Dumfries handball in the final minutes of the match. He was seen walking nervously with his arms folded together and once the referee decided against having an on-field review, which could have led to a penalty kick for Barcelona, he celebrated almost as if Inter had scored the second goal of the night.
Barcelona staff and Xavi furious
The Barcelona boss was furious with the referee and that was quite clear even by watching the game on TV. The former midfielder saw Pedri’s late goal disallowed for an Ansu Fati handball, while his side was denied a spot-kick for what appears to be a clear handball from Inter defender Denzel Dumfries.
The Barcelona staff members were in the same mood and kept complaining to the fourth official and one of his assistants in the final stages of the match. That Dumfries touch is another thing that wasn’t spotted on TV, at least from the referee.
Pedri treated like..Messi
The away sector at the Stadio Meazza wasn’t sold out and Barcelona fans struggled to make their voice heard throughout the 90 minutes. The only time they were louder than Inter supporters was when Pedri scored the equaliser in the second half before VAR disallowed it.
They started singing ‘Pedri, Pedri’ to the same tune they used to pay tribute to Leo Messi when the Argentinean was at the club. It says a lot about the bond between the Spanish starlet and the Barcelona fanbase. Regardless of his disallowed goal, Pedri was probably Barcelona’s best player at San Siro, but I am pretty sure that was also evident on TV.
The Argentinean was absolutely on fire last night. He didn’t create many goal-scoring opportunities but gave no rest to Barcelona defenders. El Toro wasn’t even fully fit but fought hard on every ball, won many duels and, at the end of the game, while TVs showed his teammates celebrating and the furious Barcelona players, Lautaro was sitting in the middle of the pitch, dealing with a muscle cramp. His attitude was impressive and showed how much he cares about Inter.