Barcelona are looking to overturn their 2 goal deficit when they host Inter Milan tomorrow night in the return leg of their semi final Champions League fixture. The Catalans who are looking to make it to their third successive finals appearance in 4 years will however have to do more than the necessary if they are to beat the Nerazzurri.
The man behind Inter’s European ‘revival’ Jose Mourinho will again want to prove the kind genius he is when he tactically assembles his troops in the absence of play maker Wesley Sneijder. Sneijder was substituted at half time in Inter’s 3-1 win over Atalanta on Saturday.
Medical reports say that the Dutch international pulled a muscle in his left leg and it is not clear how long he will be out. Mario Balotelli is the only other player who did not make the trip to Spain. As we all know the Italy U-21’s actions in the 1st leg not only left a bitter taste in the mouth of the fans and his coach but it also sealed his fate as he is unlikely to feature again for the Nerazzurri this season.
Buoyed by their emphatic 3-1 Home victory over Xerez on Saturday, the Catalans will be hoping to transfer that momentum into Wednesday’s cracker. Guardiola will however have to caution his side against any rush attacks as Sergio Busquet, Carles Puyol, Seydou Keita, Gerard Pique, and Dani Alves are already on yellow cards.
Iniesta still remains a doubt and Henry will be lucky to get a feel of the ball. Guardiola will use an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Messi, Ibrahimovic and Pedro up front. Keita, Xavi, Busquets and Thiago will make up the midfield. The defense will include Skipper Puyol, Milito, Alves and either Maxwell or Abidal. Mexican international Victor Valdez will be in goal.
Inter should have Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito, Marco Materazzi, Dejan Stankovic all available for this match. However, it is likely that defender Maicon might not feature after losing his tooth in the most unusual of ways in the 1st leg at the San Siro. Mourinho will not be going to Barcelona to play for a draw.
With his players performing exceptionally well in the league, the Portuguese will expect a repeat performance of their Saturday game. I predict a 2-2 draw with Inter progressing through to the finals on an aggregate win of 5-4.
Photo credit: from FCB19