Inter v Barcelona: tactical preview

“Many have commented that, in an ideal world, this may have been the final of the competition. Barcelona and Inter are generally considered to be the strongest two sides left in the Champions League – and of course, they are also the only two actual champions left. For the tactical enthusiast, however, a two-legged tie between the two most interesting sides in the competition is a more exciting prospect than a one-off game.” (Zonal Marking)

Inter’s date with destiny
“Outside influences have had a habit, recently, of trying to penetrate Inter’s hardened outer shell ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. Most notably, there have been allegations about the Nerazzurri’s perceived role in the 2006 Calciopoli scandal which have been brought to light by the defence attorneys for disgraced former Juventus director Luciano Moggi.” (ESPN)

It Was a Weekend for Clearing the Air, Though Not in England
“In sports, the shortest journeys often turn out to be the most perilous — as derby matches affecting the leading clubs across Europe demonstrated throughout the weekend. This, however, is a uniquely challenging time for long-distance travelers across the Continent, and for once the great and the good of soccer are in the same boat, or grounded plane, as the rest of us.” (NYT)

Espanyol make their new home a fortress to derail Barcelona
“As the bus turned in, all you could see was the palms of their hands hammering against the window. Then as the light filtered through, Nico Pareja in the aisle, arms aloft and chanting. His Espanyol team-mates were bouncing and shouting and thumping on the glass. Outside, they were too. Along the narrow streets of Cornellà, balconies were draped in blue and white, music blaring. Bars were packed with Periquitos sinking minis – litres of beer in plastic glasses – and hollering war cries.” (Guardian)


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