Robert Lewandowski scored two late goals at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to save Barcelona from Champions League elimination in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Inter Milan. The Polish striker leveled Xavi Hernandez’s side 2-2 in the 82nd minute and then again 3-3 in added time with a superb header after Robin Gosens put the Italians ahead with a minute remaining. However, Barcelona’s fate in the Champions League is no longer in their own hands and they still face a second consecutive group stage elimination when Inter Milan beat the eliminated Viktoria Pilsen at home on October 26.
Close to yet another early knockout comes as a blow to the Catalans, who were hoping a summer spree under Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski could restore their position in the European elite.
“Those were our mistakes tonight, we had the game in our hands, we had it in Munich, we had it in Milan and we had it here tonight,” Xavi lamented.
“We need another team to get through. These are our mistakes, we have to improve them. That’s the reality. The (improvement) process is longer than we thought in Europe.”
“There are other competitions, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Super Copa. We have to insist, insist, believe.”
The hosts took an early lead but Lautaro Martinez fired a warning shot into the side netting on the break, while Inter sat deep but were ready to spring forward.
Lewandowski, looking for his first goal in three games, cleared a header off the line and at the other end Edin Dzeko hit the bar.
Raphinha was frustrated after twisting a volley wide but his work rate proved crucial as Barcelona broke the deadlock. The Brazilian winger cornered a ball and fed Sergi Roberto, who sliced the ball across Dembele to fire home from close range.
Barca mistakes prove costly
Inter boiled on goal at half-time and quickly scored one of their own, scoring in the 50th minute after Gerard Pique played Nicolo Barella on the side and the Italian fired home.
The Inter midfielder snuck in behind Pique, who waved a cross past him, towards ter Stegen without reading Barella’s movement.
The 35-year-old defender started his first Champions League game of the season with Barcelona paying the price for injuries to Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen.
“They didn’t come out motivated enough in the second half, that’s a coaching mistake,” said Xavi.
“If you draw at home with these fans, with this atmosphere, it’s my fault. I’m angry. My feeling is that this competition was and still is cruel with us.”
It was another veteran of the team who gave away the ball in Inter’s second goal, with Sergio Busquets conceding possession with a misguided pass. Hakan Calhanoglu found Martinez, and the Argentina striker left Eric Garcia for dead, slamming home over the post.
“We made mistakes that you can’t make at this level,” Garcia admitted.
Eventually, Lewandowski got the ball on target with a deflected shot on his second attempt after substitute Alejandro Balde found him in the box.
Gosens thought he had delivered the Inter qualifier and eliminated Barca when he scored from Martinez’s cross on another late counterattack, but Lewandowski had other ideas.
The striker’s superb header saved Barcelona from safety but their future in the competition still hangs in the balance.
“I think Barca are a very great team with a great coach. The problem is that Barca met an Inter in these games, an Inter at the right level, organised, determined,” said Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.
“In the second half we played well and deservedly won the game. We created a lot of chances, we hit the bar, there were some very big saves.”
Barcelona have little time to pick themselves up and dust off. Real Madrid lure them to the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga on Sunday.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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