Rafinha and Jordi Alba lead Barcelona to a comfortable victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League while injured Lionel Messi watched from the stands.

Barcelona stand at the top of Group B in the UEFA Champions League, three points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan after strikes from Rafinha and Jordi Alba delivered a 2-0 victory over Inter.

Barcelona started the game softly and exhibited some signs of early nerves. Ivan Perisic almost opened the scoring for Inter as he fired a threatening shot from range in the opening minutes of the game as he attempted to profit from a sparse clearance from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. Again, in the 25th minute, in-form striker Mauro Icardi tried to create space for himself to pull the trigger but slipped before he could get the shot away.

However, as time passed, Barcelona grew in confidence and managed to open the scoring through Rafinha. The Brazilian, who replaced injured Lionel Messi, received Suarez’s flawlessly executed pass into the box and places the ball calmly into the net in the 32nd minute.

Just before the break, Inter almost cut the deficit through Vecino’s powerful half-volley from outside the box which went over the bar. The Italian side did have opportunities to equalize, with their best opportunities landing to Matteo Politano, who has been the in-form attacker for Inter this season, after replacing Antonio Candreva in the second half. The Sassuolo loanee revitalized Inter’s attack. His tricky cross into the box which curved towards the goal was saved brilliantly by Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen. The Italian winger came close to open the scoring for Inter again just moments later after new signing Arthur lost the ball sloppily, giving Politano a great chance to level things up, which he failed to take.

In the 66th minute of the match, there was a humorous yet ingenious move by Brozovic who slid down beyond the Inter wall to block Suarez’s low driven freekick. A move which Lionel Messi seemed to enjoy from the stands.

Despite Inter’s efforts to find the equalizer, Barcelona reacted confidently with Suarez and Lenglet both forcing Handanovic into a series of excellent saves before Philippe Coutinho hit the woodwork in the 69th minute. And with the Spanish champions’ continuous pressure, they finally got their winning goal through Spanish veteran Jordi Alba in the 83rd minute when Rakitic played a perfect pass to find the Barca left-back who then tucks the ball neatly into the bottom corner.

Barcelona now prepare for El Classico without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time since 11 years. The most anticipated match is set to take place on at the Camp Nou on Sunday, 28th October.


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