x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Inter frustrate Barca to go through to final

The Milan side were down to 10 men, but kept the Catalans to a single goal in Barcelona to win 3-2 on aggregate.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi tries to escape the attention of the Inter Milan captain. Javier Zanetti.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi tries to escape the attention of the Inter Milan captain. Javier Zanetti.

BARCELONA // Ten-man Inter Milan lost 1-0 at Barcelona last night but still reached their first Champions League final in 38 years by beating the defending champion 3-2 on aggregate. The Italian champions braved continuous pressure from the slick-passing Catalans to line up a final against Bayern Munich on May 22 in Madrid after winning the first leg 3-1. Defender Gerard Pique scored in the 84th minute after Inter had frustrated Barcelona's attack. Inter were reduced to 10 men from the 28th minute when Thiago Motta picked up a second yellow card after tangling with Sergio Busquets. Inter held on in front of nearly 100,000 fans at the Camp Nou to give itself a chance at a third title - and first since 1965. Moments after the Barcelona substitute Bojan Krkic headed a clear chance wide, Pique received the ball inside the area before twisting past a defender and the goalkeeper Julio Cesar and drilling his shot on the turn into an empty net. Lionel Messi was given little room to roam, but the Argentina winger had a chance late after having delivered a perfect cross for Krkic in the 82nd minute. Krkic found the back of the net in injury time but his strike was ruled out for a handball by Yaya Toure in the buildup. Inter's manager, Jose Mourinho, and his players sprinted onto the field to celebrate at the final whistle. Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes tangled with Mourinho as he pointed up to the Inter section of fans. The water sprinklers at the end of the pitch where Inter players celebrated were then turned on. Inter managed just one shot in the contest but still halted Barcelona's incredible run under Pep Guardiola. Barcelona won a record six trophies under Guardiola but now have only the league trophy to play for. Inter, meanwhile, are closing in on a historic treble, as they lead the Serie A standings and have reached the Italian Cup final. *AP