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By Caroline Cheese
2157: Over and out on quite a night. Next Wednesday's second leg at the Camp Nou threatens to be an absolute crackerjack. Meanwhile, Stevo returns tomorrow for the first leg of Bayern Munich-Lyon. Bye for now.
2155: And there is the final whistle at Loftus Road, QPR winning 1-0. And after tonight, it's between three clubs for the final relegation place in the Championship. Watford have 48 points (GD -14), then it's Crystal Palace on 47 (GD -3) and currently in the drop zone, it's Sheffield Wednesday on 46 (GD -19).
2153: I'm just waiting for the end of QPR-Watford. The hosts still lead 1-0 with only a minute or two remaining. The Hornets will remain in deep relegation bother if the score remains the same.
2151: And I think I heard that that's the first time Barcelona have conceded three goals this season.
From optajoe on Twitter:
"The last time Barca lost 3-1 in the 1st leg of a CL knockout match, they went on to beat Chelsea 5-1 aet in the return leg in 2000."
Football League Macca: "They will be dancing in the streets of Scunthorpe tonight as they score twice in the last eight minutes to earn a 2-2 draw with Reading. That point is enough to keep them in the Champ. They're still playing at Loftus Road where it is still QPR 1-0 Watford. Tranmere remain in the relegation slots after losing 2-1 at Brentford while it finished goalless between Oldham and Southampton. Notts Co are four points clear at the top of L2 after beating Rochdale and Cheltenham-Darlo ended 3-3."
2142: There are several Chelsea fans keen to point out that now Barca know what it's like to be denied a clear penalty in a Champions League semi-final.
From NandoWolf27 on 606:
"Awful referee. How did he not see the tackle on Alves? Ibra diabolical. Second leg should be a cracker."
2138: Inter may have got the rub of the green, but they played a tactically perfect game against the champions. Lionel Messi was quiet, Xavi was visibly frustrated by the end. Still wouldn't count Barca out though would you? A 2-0 win at the Camp Nou and they'd be through.
2136: FULL-TIME Inter Milan 3-1 Barcelona
2133: Lionel Messi dribbling with the ball on the right of the box, but he can't quite work the shooting opportunity. The ball eventually comes to Pedro on the other side, and his overhead kick goes straight down Julio Cesar's throat.
2132: Into four minutes of added time.
Football League Macca: "Scunthorpe grab a late lifeline as Gary Hooper makes it 1-2 against Reading. A late blow for Tranmere's relegation fight as Ben Strevens gives Brentford a 2-1 lead. Last few minutes."
2131: Defender Gerard Pique is pretty much camped in the opposition penalty area. That's how desperately Barca want to get at least one back. One minute 'til the 90.
2128: Five minutes remaining, and still most of the pressure is from Barca. Gerard Pique attempts to squeeze the ball home from the tightest of angles but Lucio is there with the crucial block.
2125: That's a penalty in most people's eyes... but crucially not referee Olegario Benquerenca's. Dani Alves jinks into the penalty area past Wesley Sneijder, who clearly makes contact with the back of Alves's leg as he falls into the challenge. A booking for Alves, who can't decide whether to laugh or cry.
2124: Inter's Dejan Stankovic won't feature in the second leg. He's picked up a booking for a late challenge.
From andy pints on 606:
"Anyone who thinks that the volcano eruption was down to mother nature underestimates the powers of the special one, my guess is that it will have stopped in time for the second leg, and there'll be a big overcoat placed on the top of it..."
2121: Julio Cesar scrambles across to his left to keep out Lionel Messi's free-kick. Barca piling on the pressure now. Eleven minutes remaining.
2119: Xavi takes on a couple of players before threading the ball through for Pedro, but Esteban Cambiasso is there with the block. It seemed to open up there for a moment.
Football League Macca:"Cheltenham have hauled themselves back into their home game with Darlo. From 3-0 down they are now level 3-3 through Medy Elito. Tranmere are also level at Brentford as Joss Labadie gets on the scoreline. Another goal and they will leapfrog Exeter and move out of the dropzone. No such luck for Scunny as a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty makes it 2-0 to Reading."
2116: Mario Balotelli is on now, replacing Diego Milito, who has put in one helluva shift tonight.
2113: Looks like trouble for the Brazilian right-back. Maicon got a smack in the face from Lionel Messi's shoulder and then appeared to get a bit of elbow from team-mate Walter Samuel as he fell. Nasty. That means a change of plans for Jose Mourinho. Cristian Chivu replaces Maicon, who departs on a stretcher.
2112: Maicon needs treatment after an accidental collision in the box. Looks like Inter will bring on Mario Balotelli shortly.
2109: Seydou Keita into the book for a trip, and I'm awaiting further confirmation of this, but I believe we just saw Barca midfielder Xavi GIVE THE BALL AWAY for the first time in his career. Now if that doesn't prove that the defending champions are rattled...
2106: With Inter still celebrating, Pep Guardiola sends Eric Abidal on for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has had one of his more disappointing nights.
Inter goal: Another sweeping counter-attack, another goal for the hosts - and the defending champions are reeling now. Samuel Eto'o provides a lovely cross from the right for Wesley Sneijder, who makes a terrible mess of his header - but Diego Milito, who may be a touch offside, anticipates it and nods past Victor Valdes. Milito looks to the linesman straight away - before he's off and celebrating.
2103: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 3-1 Barcelona (D Milito)
2101: Gerard Pique's lunge on Thiago Motta earns him the next booking.
2100: Inter goalscorer Maicon looks at the ref pleadingly after tripping Pedro. The Brazilian is a booking away from a suspension, but Olegario Benquerenca lets him off the hook this time.
2058: Jose Mourinho makes the first change of the game, bringing Dejan Stankovic on to replace Goran Pandev.
2056: Sergio Busquets should score. The Barca midfielder is unmarked in front of goal as he meets a left-wing corner but heads too close to Julio Cesar and the Inter keeper makes an excellent save.
Football League Macca: "Scunny have slipped behind at home to Reading as Alex Pearce opens the scoring three minutes after the break. Tranmere are also losing as Brentford's Kevin O'Connor pounces. And Cheltenham are back to 2-3 as Justin Richards cuts even further into Darlo's lead."
2054: Lionel Messi cuts in from the right and unleashes a swerving left-foot shot, which Julio Cesar does very well to deal with. Messi's first shot of the game, if I'm not very much mistaken, and not a bad one either.
2053: More bad news for the visitors. Carles Puyol blocks off Diego Milito - and that yellow card means the Barca skipper will miss the second leg. Is it me, or is Puyol permanently on a yellow card?
Inter goal: What a start to the half for the hosts, and it all starts when Lionel Messi loses the ball in the Inter half. Wesley Sneijder goes on a rampaging run through midfield before slipping the ball through for Diego Milito on the right. He squares for Maicon, who, despite the attentions of Seydou Keita, manages to dink the ball past Victor Valdes. Two goals in two games for the right-back.
2050: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 2-1 Barcelona (Maicon)
2048: Diego Milito picks up the ball on the right, takes one look and slides a lovely, first-time ball across goal for Goran Pandev, but the Macedonian isn't quite close enough.
2047: Back under way at the San Siro. No changes by either manager yet.
Football League Macca: "Hoops. QPR are ahead at Loftus through an Akos Buzsaky penalty after Adrian Mariappa fouled Dusko Tosic. Bad news for Watford fans. The other Champ game - Scunny v Reading - is 0-0 at HT."
From MCFC_TID on 606:
"The game's lived up to expectation so far and apart from the Pedro goal, Inter have looked tactically very sound, stopping Barca from playing how they can. A late Eto'o goal in a 2-1 win for Mourinho."
From Greg, Chelmsford, via text: "Samuel and Lucio have played perfectly in that first half, keeping Messi out of the game completely. I can see Inter edging this leg."
2035: Well, well. As I said, surprisingly open half there. And not one that either Dani Alves or Maicon will look back on with much fondness, having gone missing for the goals. Brazil eh? Rubbish...
2031: HALF-TIME Inter Milan 1-1 Barcelona
2030: Sergio Busquets wins a free-kick for Wesley Sneijder's cheeky trip - but then picks up a ridiculous yellow for punching the ball away. Silly Sergio.
2027: Few minutes 'til half-time, and Maicon wins a rather fortuitous free-kick after an aerial challenge with Seydou Keita. Wesley Sneijder wallops it into the wall and the ball pings well wide for a corner.
Football League Macca: Goals in League Two again. One of them has gone to Darlington as Mor Diop put them 3-0 up minutes before Michael Pook pulled a goal back. Cheltenham 1-3 Darlington. At t'other end of the table, hot-shot Lee Hughes has put Notts Co ahead against Rochdale.
2020: This is a surprisingly open game, you know. Pedro gets to the right byeline and aims a cross towards Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Julio Cesar bravely saving at the Swede's feet.
Inter goal: Told you it would be a goalfest. Barca's turn to go missing defensively now. Diego Milito, after wasting two chances, turns provider with a neat lay-off for Wesley Sneijder, who has been left completely and utterly on his own on the left of the box, and he rams the ball past Victor Valdes.
2014: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 1-1 Barcelona (Sneijder)
2012: Delicious little ball for Wesley Sneijder for Diego Milito, who tries to bend a low shot past Victor Valdes with the outside of his right foot but it's gone past the post again. Another great chance spurned by the Argentine.
2010: For those of you wondering where on earth Inter's right-back Maicon was when Maxwell was setting up Barca's goal, he may still be dreaming of the wondrous goal he scored against Juve on Friday (video-sharing website, if you haven't seen it)
2006: Disastrous headed effort by Lucio from Wesley Sneijder as Inter look to hit straight back, but the offside flag spares his blushes.
Barcelona goal: Well there go Jose's dreams of a 0-0 - and it's largely thanks to some awful defending by his side. Full-back Maxwell canters down the left... and he just keeps going and going, before cutting the ball back from the byeline for Pedro to stroke home his 20th goal of the season.
2003: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 0-1 Barcelona (Pedro)
Football League Macca: "Goals in L2 and they've both gone to in-form (sort of) Darlington. Tadgh Purcell with the opener after less than two minutes and Cheltenham's Ashley Eastham has just added an og (own goal)."
2002: Best chance so far. Victor Valdes spills a Samuel Eto'o daisy-cutter straight into the path of Diego Milito, who screws his shot past the far post.
2000: Goran Pandev is rolling around on the halfway line after Pedro's challenge. I think he's OK. Lost count of the number of free-kicks already.
1956: Samuel Eto'o leathers the ball away in frustration as he hears the whistle. The striker looked to have done well to steal possession Seydou Keitaand skip away down the right, but the ref spotted a foul which wasn't there - and then adds insult to injury with a yellow for the reaction.
1955: Diego Milito runs on to Samuel Eto'o's dinked pass - but is stopped in his tracks by the offside flag. Replays show he was just level, but a tough call for the linesman.
1953: Jose Mourinho is busy making notes. "All going well so far," he might be writing. Inter closing the space quickly, and absorbing the pressure.
1950: Lionel Messi has three around him as he picks up the ball about 30 yards out. He goes past two, but falls under Esteban Cambiasso's challenge on the edge of the box. No appeal though.
1949: Xavi floats a free-kick to the back post but the defender's there before Pedro. Corner for Barca, which is one off the training ground, but Seydou Keita concedes a free-kick. Positive start by the visitors.
1946: Zlatan Ibrahimovic tries one of his outrageous back-flicks from a dangerous left-wing cross but can't quite reach it.
1934: And as well as those two momentous Championship games (see 1909), Football League Macca reveals: "It's a potentially big evening in Leagues One and Two. In L1, Tranmere can leap out of the relegation spots with a win away to mid-table Brentford. Southampton, who need a win to keep their slim hopes of a play-off place alive, face Oldham, who could still be dragged into the relegation scrap. In L2 there is a clash of the titans between Notts County (top) and Rochdale (second) and Cheltenham can safeguard their league status by beating Darlington (although a draw will probably do)."
From NReevesAber on Twitter:
"I have a feeling Jose Mourinho has a very nasty surprise in store for Barcelona tonight. Just like he had for Chelsea..."
From Cynical_Joe MUFC OK on 606:
"0-0 tonight and 1-1 at the Nou Camp. It will be a defensive masterclass from Mourinho's men and I think they will stifle and frustrate Barca."
1924: As you know, Inter and Barca met in this season's group stages, Barca earning a point at the San Siro and then winning 2-0 at the Camp Nou, Gerard Pique and Pedro with the goals. "This game has been a long time coming," says Mourinho. "Barca are as good as they were in November but we are much better now. That is why this tie is now 50-50."
From optajoe on Twitter:
"Wesley Sneijder has been directly involved in 6 of Inter Milan's 12 goals in the Champions League this season: 2 goals, 4 assists."
1919: TEAM NEWS Inter Milan v Barcelona Inter Milan are unchanged from their 2-0 Serie A victory over Juventus on Friday. Veteran Argentine Javier Zanetti lines up at left-back, so the 36-year-old will be charged with stopping his on-fire countryman Lionel Messi. Barcelona make two changes from their 0-0 derby draw with Espanyol on Saturday, with Seydou Keita and Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the side for Gabriel Milito and Yaya Toure as Carles Puyol reverts to centre-back and Maxwell to left-back.
1915: Infostrada Sports are hard at work already: Carles Puyol is unbeaten in his last 17 Champions League appearances and can break the record for Spanish players if Barcelona avoid defeat this evening. He currently shares this record with Cesc Fabregas.
1909: Big night at the bottom of the Championship tonight. Watford (at QPR) need a win and Scunthorpe (home to Reading) a point to secure their safety. Anything else and the agony continues for both sets of fans.
1905: TEAMS Inter Milan v Barcelona Inter Milan: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti, Motta, Cambiasso, Pandev, Milito, Sneijder, Eto'o. Subs: Orlandoni, Cordoba, Stankovic, Muntari, Materazzi, Chivu, Balotelli. Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, Xavi, Busquets, Keita, Ibrahimovic, Messi, Pedro. Subs: Pinto, Marquez, Bojan, Henry, Milito, Abidal, Toure Yaya. Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)
1859: Barcelona have had a 14-hour coach trip to get to Milan - although that did include a one-night stay in Cannes, so not all bad news. Jose Mourinho, of course, was hugely sympathetic to Barca's plight... "If that had happened to me I would have tried to use it to build team spirit," he said. "Of course a bus journey is uncomfortable but Dennis Bergkamp would certainly prefer to go by bus than by plane. We went to Moscow against a team that hadn't played in the week, on a plastic pitch and we played."
1856: I'll have the full line-ups with you shortly, but I can tell you that Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit to start against his old club.
1853: But never mind that, let the hype continue regardless. Ever since Lionel Messi
tore Arsenal apart in the quarter-finals,
the whole of football has been waiting to see how
master tactician Jose Mourinho
can stop the world's best player. Tonight, we find out. "Messi is the number one danger," said the former Chelsea boss. "He is an important player who needs major attention but, according to my culture, man-marking is impossible. It will not be one of ours against Messi and 10 against 10 others, but 11 against 11."
1849: Having said that, we all know it's going to be 0-0 tonight right? At least it probably will be if Jose Mourinho has his way. His Inter side are the lowest scorers (with 12) of the four semi-finalists and are level with tonight's opponents on seven goals conceded.
1845: Is anyone really going to miss the English clubs in these Champions League semi-finals? When we've got the prospect of Mourinho v Guardiola, Messi v everyone, Ibra v Eto'o, Maicon v Alves etc?
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