Hassan Chamas

What: Champions League semi-final second leg
Who: Barcelona (Spain) vs Internazionale (Italy)
When: Wednesday 28th April, 2010, at 20:45 CET
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Back in Business

After some tough times in the last seven days, the Barcelona juggernaut was back in full business as they easily dismantled bottom side Xerez this Saturday in La Liga, with goals from Jeffren, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic being more than enough to account for the visitors. Now, Josep Guardiola’s team can focus their attention back on Inter, after losing by a two-goal margin for the first time in his career as Barca’s head coach.

Guardiola will have to reshuffle his back four once more this Wednesday, as injury and suspension have ruled out Eric Abidal and Carles Puyol, respectively. It is most likely that Maxwell and Gabriel Milito will slot in for the pair, but some schoolboy defending performances by the Blaugrana could prove to be fatal, as Inter showed them at the Giuseppe Meazza that they can be quite unmerciful.

We’re Ready

Internazionale’s 3-1 win over Atalanta during the weekend was a test of character for Jose Mourinho’s team as they prepare to enter the confines of the Camp Nou. However, the Nerazzurri are facing the daunting prospect of travelling to Spain without Wesley Sneijder, who is very doubtful after picking up a muscle injury. Another key player that will undoubtedly be missing from the Inter squad is Mario Balotelli, as the forward is in hot water following his post-Barcelona match antics with the fans.

One factor that could influence the Beneamata is the Calciopoli hearing scheduled for this Tuesday (last Tuesday’s hearing was adjourned for a week). With a wealth of new phone taps threatening to drag more teams into Italy’s football scandal, the re-opened Calciopoli trial could see some heads roll on the floor. Should Inter be in hot water before their Champions League match, they’ll have to quickly keep their focus.  

Recent form

Espanyol 0-0 Barcelona (17/04; La Liga)
Inter 3-1 Barcelona (20/04; Champions League)
Barcelona 3-1 Xerez (24/04; La Liga)


Inter 2-0 Juventus (16/04; Serie A)
Inter 3-1 Barcelona (20/04; Champions League)
Inter 3-1 Atalanta (24/04; Serie A)

Key absences

Barcelona: Eric Abidal (doubt); Andres Iniesta; Carles Puyol (suspension)

Internazionale: Wesley Sneijder (doubt); Goran Pandev (doubt); Davide Santon; Francesco Toldo; Dejan Stankovic (suspension); Mario Balotelli (club suspension)

Players to watch

Barcelona – Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Blaugrana forward has failed to score on the three occasions in which he has met his previous team so far. Having secured the win for Barcelona over the weekend, Ibrahimovic will want to launch his club all the way to the final. If there’s one time that Barca are in need of goals, it’s now.

Internazionale – Javier Zanetti: A true football riddle, Zanetti only seems to get better with age. Last Tuesday, the 36-year-old succeeded to great effect in shackling Lionel Messi, ensuring that his compatriot endured a rough evening. The Argentinian will have to be at his very best once again should he want to halt the world’s best player.

Match Prediction

A big round of applause is in order for Jose Mourinho after the 'Special One' managed to keep the world’s best team at bay last Tuesday. A similar feat could be a bit harder at the Camp Nou, but the Portuguese tactician does have what it takes to just come out on top. A 2-1 scoreline for Barcelona with Inter going to the final.

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


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