It was a very sad atmosphere at the Nou Camp Wednesday, for the friendly match opposing Spanish team Barcelona to Serie A Champions Inter in the Trofeu Joan Gamper. The hearts of players and spectators were still aching for the recent death of Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta, but it was nonetheless decided to play the trophy anyway, as an homage to Puerta and Barcelona legend and former club president Nicolau Casaus. The match that ensued had little competitive meaning, partly because of the sad circumstances, but also because of the appalling technical display of the Inter players.
During the minute of silence, the Blaugranas all wore Sevilla shirts with the nº16 and the name Puerta on the back. A banner that simply read “We are playing for you” below Puerta’s picture was laid on the pitch.
Here are some match excerpts from the Goal.com article.
After just 6 minutes of play, a great run forward by young talent Giovanni Dos Santos forced new Inter signing Cristian Chivu into a clumsy tackle in the box. Referee pointed to the spot for the penalty kick, duly transformed by Ronaldinho. 7 minutes later, Barcelona went on the double with Giovanni Dos Santos in the heart of the action again: the rising star from Mexico exploited a good Yaya Touré pass, cut back inside his marker and blasted the ball past Toldo‘s arms into the net.
Before the break, Toldo had the chance to show off his athleticism by parrying a close-range header by Yaya Touré, then again on an effort by Oleguer, but little could he do against the Ivory Coast midfielder 20 minutes later, as he blasted home a powerful drive from 25 meters. Before the 3rd goal, Inter had timidly attempted a reaction with close-range shots by Adriano and Solari (the best of Mancini‘s men tonight), but the scoreline remained mercilessly a 3-0 lead for Barcelona. Not only that, but the tally of shots on target was 10-1 in favor of the Catalans. Shivering stuff.
After the break, Barça coach Rijkaard decided to finally compose his wonder line-up, and insert Messi and Eto’o to help out Henry and Ronaldinho already on the field. The ‘Fantastic 4′ didn’t last very long together though, as the Cameroonian striker had be stretchered off after twisting his leg 4 minutes into the half.
With 56 minutes on the clock, the Blaugrana capped a strong start to the 2nd period by adding a 4th goal, as Leo Messi rolled the ball through the Inter defence and provided an excellent pass for Andrés Iniesta, who dummied Toldo before firing into the top corner. Despite the game slowed in pace towards the end, Barça had even time for a 5th goal: when the moment came, it was Thiago Motta doing the honours, against a Nerazzurri team essentially made up of Primavera (U21) players at this point. The game ended on a 5-0 final scoreline which left little doubt on which team had played better.
|GOALSCORERS: 7′ pen. Ronaldinho (B), 12′ Dos Santos (B), 37’ Touré (B), 56’ Iniesta (B), 79’ Motta (B).
|BARCELONA (4-3-3): Jorquera (46’ Valdes) – Zambrotta (46’ G.Milito), Oleguer, Marquez (46’ Thuram), Abidal (46’ Sylvinho) – Y.Touré (67’ M.Crosas), Xavi (46’ Iniesta), Deco – Dos Santos (46’ Messi), Ronaldinho (46’ Eto’o; 51’ Motta), Henry. (bench: Ezquerro). Coach: Rijkaard.
|INTER (4-3-1-2): Toldo (62’ Alfonso) – Burdisso, Rivas, Chivu (42′ Filippini), Cesar (85’ Pedrelli) – Pelè (46’ Filkor), Cambiasso, Solari (67’ Fatic) – Jimenez (60’ Recoba) – Crespo (59’ Maaroufi), Adriano (59’ Balotelli). (bench: Esposito). Coach: Mancini.
Not much I can add, except that this was a Barça show from start to finish. It must be said that Inter fielded their reserve team (as the vast majority of Inter’s starting line-up didn’t make the trip to Spain), but even so the technical superiority of the Catalans was simply staggering. It has been long known and stated that “even Inter’s bench could form a team capable of rivaling with the best of Europe”, but that fact has been severely put to the test tonight, and I’m afraid to report that the grade is an ‘F’. Most of these youngsters aren’t ready to play in Serie A, much less against an European soccer juggernaut of the caliber of Barcelona. Mancini had the chance to test some new signings (such as Vitor Hugo Gomes Passos ‘Pelé’), but given the general team performance it would be hard to make any conclusions from the match.
For Barcelona, this was the first taste of the home stadium for new Blaugrana signings Thierry Henry, Gaby Milito, Yaya Touré and Éric Abidal. All four, much like the rest of the Barça players, had a great performance in a game in which the Nerazzurri were simply unprepared, unfit, and unmotivated.
But I guess that in light of this week’s events in Sevilla, it doesn’t matter all that much.