(English) The Champions League Semi With Everything

29 abril 2010 | By | Category: Noticias
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The drama surrounding the Champions League semifinal matches between Barcelona and Inter Milan reads less like a recounting of events that took place in just one week and more like a barely plausible Wikipedia page of a hate-filled history between the two teams:

To top off a wild two weeks, Cristian Chivu, Walter Samuel and the rest of Inter Milan performed an impromptu breakdance routine so breathtaking even Barcelona fans had to cheer.

* Rowdy Barcelona fans set off fireworks outside Inter’s hotel at 4 a.m. the night before the second leg match.

* Spanish tax officials decide to question Inter striker Samuel Eto’o, according to Journal soccer columnist Gabriele Marcotti.

* After Barcelona fans heckled Inter players upon their arrival at the airport earlier in the day, Inter coach Jose Mourinho was confronted in his car by fans who threw cans and bottles, punched windows, and tried to shake it onto its side.

* Immediately following Inter’s advancing to the Champions League final, Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes accosted Mourinho, starting a minor scrum with the winning coach. Valdes thought Mourinho was goading Barca fans. Mourinho was, in fact, pointing to the Inter fans high up in the rafters.

* Because ash from an Icelandic volcano eruption grounded most European flights, Barca was forced to take a 14-hour bus ride to Milan, with a stop overnight in Cannes, before losing the first leg, 3-1, and swinging the aggregate heavily in Inter’s favor.

* Inter midfielder Thiago Motta, who once played for Barcelona, received a red card in the second leg for knocking down Barca’s Sergio Busquets in a play that most observers agree was a blatant case of overacting by Busquets. “We are used to seeing Barcelona players dive a lot,” Motta said …two days before the game. How blatant was the dive by Busquets? A gif of his peek-a-boo look at the referee to see if he noticed his fall is already circulating the Web.

* While Inter celebrated its advancement to the final, Barcelona’s stadium operations crew turned on the field’s sprinklers in an effort to drive the visiting players into the locker room.

Again, this all happened in the last few weeks. Fittingly, Inter advanced even though they lost the second game (they won the two-match aggregate goal count, 3-2), a paradox that Mourinho called “the sweetest 1-0 defeat of my life.” Inter advances to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final, but the German squad won’t be at full strength, as Franck Ribery was suspended three games by UEFA for a foul on Olympique Lyon’s Lisandro Lopez in the first leg of their semifinal match.

For Inter, it will be just one less player to bottle up in their stifling, aesthetically unpleasing defense. “Inter defended deep and in numbers,” the London Telegraph’s Henry Winter writes in his match recap, “Inter had not come to entertain.

With a victory in the May 22 Champions League final, Inter or Bayern will stand one step closer to pulling off the elusive treble: winning a league title, a country Cup title, and a UEFA title in the same year. This would be a first in both Germany or Italy. For the rest of the world, it will provide a thrilling prelude to the World Cup, which begins just a few weeks after their game.

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