Jose Mourinho has a love affair with the UEFA Champions League that seems to go on and on – certainly the romance continued tonight, with a sensational 3-1 home victory for his Inter Milan over reigning champs Barcelona in the 2010 Semi- Final first leg.
Inter fell a goal behind midway through the first half when Pedro scored on 19 minutes for the visitors, as Barcelona looked to continue their steady progress towards another final. There was a brief moment of indecision in the Inter defence from Inter right-back Maicon, who may still have been replaying his awesome strike against Juventus last Friday in his mind when he allowed Maxwell to swing across the ball for Pedro to make his finish.
However, Inter Milan hit back just before half time through Sneijder on the half hour mark.
There were to be no more goals before the sides came in at one all.
Maicon would soon make amends for his first half lapse, by hammering in Inter’s second goal to take the lead for the home team on 48 minutes, before Milito headed home for the two goal advantage on 68.
Inter’s tight defence closed out the match with some ease, giving them real hope of a Champions League 2010 Final if they can travel to Camp Nou and restrict Barca to fewer than 2 goals. If Inter can score the away goal to match next week’s hosts, then Barcelona will need to score at least three goals: we have seen that they are every bit capable of doing this in this tournament, but they have not faced such a stingy defence as Jose Mourinho likes to set up, until now.
Inter Milan, having scored three goals tonight, have to be favourites to make the final. If they score a goal in Camp Nou, and defend as they can, they will make it through. However, we have all seen just how devastating Lionel Messi and co can be at home.
Don’t take your eyes off this one just yet.