Hassan Chamas


What: 2009/10 Champions League semi-final
Who: Internazionale (Italy) vs. Barcelona (Spain)
When: Tuesday 20th April, 2010, at 20:45 CET
Where: Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

Still Chasing

Internazionale claimed Serie A's leadership on Friday against one of their bitterest enemies, Juventus. Goals from Maicon and Samuel Eto’o meant that the Nerazzurri leapfrogged Roma into pole position, but only for 48 hours. Roma's derby win against Lazio ensured that Inter cannot fully concentrate on the Champions League – they have a close title race on their hands.

Inter’s week has been rocked by the news of their apparent involvement in the Calciopoli scandal, with evidence of Internazionale owner Massimo Moratti and former president Giacinto Facchetti having talks with referee designators. With the reigning champions now fully involved in Italy’s scandal and the next hearing settled for this coming Tuesday – on the morning of their Barcelona clash – there could yet be another distraction going into this vital clash.

On The Road?

Discontent is the general feeling in Barcelona after the Blaugrana’s magnificent run was put on ice by cross-town rivals Espanyol. After dispatching Arsenal – twice –, Real Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna, the sextuple champions knew that a win in El Derbi Barceloni would be a huge stepping stone towards retaining the league crown.

On the pitch however, the Blaugrana came up short against a determined Blanquiblaus side that are struggling for survival this season. As the ninety minute mark approached, frustration grew on Guardiola’s face, as he knew Real Madrid would cut the lead established in El Clasico. Furthermore, the volcanic ash cloud wreaking havoc across Europe means it is likely Barcelona will travel to Milan by coach. How much more this will tire the team remains to be seen.

Recent form

Fiorentina 2-2 Internazionale (10/04; Serie A)
Fiorentina 0-1 Internazionale (13/04; Coppa Italia)
Internazionale 2-0 Juventus (16/04; Serie A)


Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona (10/04; La Liga)
Barcelona 3-0 Deportivo La Coruna (14/04; La Liga)
Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona (17/04; La Liga)

Key absences

Internazionale: Dejan Stankovic (doubt); Davide Santon; Francesco Toldo

Barcelona: Eric Abidal (doubt); Andres Iniesta

Players to watch

Internazionale – Samuel Eto’o: The Cameroonian will face his former team for the second time this season before returning to the Camp Nou for this fixture’s reverse leg. Having gunned down Chelsea in the quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge, Eto’o still feels bitter about his exit from the Catalan giants, and will have a point to prove to his former bosses.

Barcelona – Victor Valdes: The topic of Valdes’ inclusion in the Spain World Cup has been brought up of late, considering the wonderful form that the La Masia youth product has exhibited recently. With a third Zamora trophy for best keeper in La Liga practically in the bag, Valdes could be a surprise inclusion in Vicente del Bosque’s squad.

Match prediction

Barcelona will enter the match with the hope of venting their weekend frustration against their hosts. However, it is highly unlikely that Inter will fight fire with fire, and as such, Jose Mourinho will practice Helenio Herrera’s Catenaccio to full effect. In other words, the “Special One” will park the bus against Barcelona, trying to prevent them from gaining crucial away goals. A 1-1 draw seems a reasonable outcome.

Fancy a bet on this exciting game? Remember, you can find and compare the prices of all major online bookmakers at tip-ex.com.



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