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Tuesday, 20th April 2010
Kick Off : 19:45 BST
Venue : Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro), Milan
This exciting Champions League semi-final first leg between Inter Milan and Barcelona will take place in the Stadio San Siro (Milan) on Tuesday 20th April 2010, kick-off set for 7:45 PM. “The Special One” José Mourinho expects Internazionale to have a lot of work to do closing down the lines against Barcelona’s dangerous attacking players. However he has said that he is not interested in the possession of the ball. He is aiming to control the ball for longer periods of time and argued that in the game played last September in Milan, they (Barcelona) were better for few minutes but the rest of the match was even.
The rematch in Barcelona in the group stages was a different thing, he continued, the Catalans showed great superiority, winning easily and deservedly. Mourinho believes that Barcelona is as good as they were in November but Inter is much better now. Tactically the Italians are a compact unit and the former Chelsea boss insists in that there are no plans to mark Messi closely and take him out of the flow of the game.
Manager Jose Mourinho is looking to send his midfielders to fight for the ball to combat Lionel Messi’s game but Davide Santon will be out after a minor knee surgery.
Barcelona reports that Eric Abidal is back after a thigh injury. Messi will play despite not training, but Andres Iniesta is out of the lineup.
The Spanish side continues its quest to become the first team to defend the European title since AC Milan did it in 1990. Barcelona has not been helped by the post-eruption travel chaos across large parts of Europe. In fact the 450-mile journey to northern Italy was made in bus over two days. Inter will try to make it tough for them using the circumstances of the Catalans slow travel to Milan staged in a less than ideal way, although if they lose that will not be a valid excuse.
Curiously enough the ordeal and the time the players spent so long together on a bus will bring them even closer and will help them to overcome the natural distractions and focus on beating Inter. In these stages of the Champions League any trip will not seem so long. The experienced Catalans know very well that they need to get a good result that could allow them to go into the second leg with confidence.
My prediction: 1-1