Robert Lewandowski’s heroics save Barcelona in a draw with Inter Milan
Robert Lewandowski rescued Barcelona’s Champions League knockout round hopes with two late goals to earn his side a 3-3 draw with Inter Milan at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
Xavi Hernandez’s Barca needed at least a draw to have a chance to avoid missing the knockout rounds for the second year in a row and the Poland international delivered the goods near the end of a dramatic second half.
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Barcelona is still facing elimination at the group stage of the competition, but Lewandowski’s stoppage-time equalizer gave them a slim chance of progressing with two games left.
Inter needs a home win over Viktoria Plzen next week to join Bayern Munich in the last 16.
It’s bad, I think this Champions League is being very cruel to us, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez told Movistar Plus. Now it is out of our hands. What is left for us is to turn our attention quickly to Sunday’s El Clasico [against Real Madrid], bounce back, and focus on LaLiga because the Champions League became very difficult and complicated for us.
Edin Dzeko was denied by the crossbar for Inter’s opener just after 15 minutes as the visitors looked to carry the momentum of their 1-0 win over Barca at the San Siro last Tuesday into the reverse fixture.
Barca, who pressed hard for their first, took a deserved lead into the break when Ousmane Dembele shot past Andre Onana from Sergi Roberto’s pass across the six-yard box just before half-time.
Inter drew level early in the second half through Nicolo Barella, who pounced on a cross from Alessandro Bastoni and finished past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from close range.
Lautaro Martinez fired Simone Inzaghi’s side into the lead shortly past the hour mark with a fine individual effort, settling Hakan Calhanoglu’s long ball over the top of the defense, beating his marker and lashing home a low shot to pile more pressure on Barca.
Summer-signing Lewandowski did what he was brought in to do in the 82nd minute as his header from a cross into the area came back to him off an Inter defender and he shot past Onana with a second effort to make it 2-2.
But Inter’s Robin Gosens put Inter back in the lead minutes later with a tidy finish on the counter before Lewandowski headed in for his brace in the second.
It was too many mistakes, their first goal was a clear mistake by our defense, and we let them have too many chances. Soccer is a game of mistakes and we can’t afford those in situations like this, Xavi said.
This is the Champions League and you pay a high price for each error you make. You need to win, defend well, to score. We needed to play the entire game as we did in the first half. That intensity. Now it’s hard because we are not in control anymore.
Barca is third in the Group C standings on four points, three behind Inter and eight adrift of Bayern, who clinched a spot in the knockout rounds with a win over Victoria Plzen on Wednesday.