Barcelona Advance to Round of 16 After Champions League Draw with Inter Milan

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2018

Barcelona's French forward Ousmane Dembele (C) challenges Inter Milan's Ghanaian midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah (L) and Inter Milan's Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic during the UEFA Champions League group B football match Inter Milan vs Barcelona on November 6, 2018 at San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Inter Milan and Barcelona could not be separated in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, as the pair played out a 1-1 draw at the San Siro. The result sends Barcelona into the Round of 16.

Barca substitute Malcom scored seconds after rising from the bench to give the Spanish champions the lead after 83 minutes, but Inter captain Mauro Icardi found the equaliser three minutes before the end.


Ousmane Dembele Was Waste of Money for Barca

Young players should always be given time to grow at any club, but the opening phase of Dembele's time at Barca has been underwhelming.

The attacking midfielder is blessed with quick feet, but his decision-making often leaves him off the pace when Barca speed up their passing.

Lionel Messi's absence would be a huge problem for any side with such an iconic player, but the Catalans need more from Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.

The chemistry between the pair is not at the required standard, and Luis Suarez is not fully utilised with the duo in tandem.

Dembele arrived for a huge fee from Borussia Dortmund, and bad luck with injury stunted his initial progress.

He has started to find the back of the net in La Liga this term, but he lacks football intelligence on the biggest stage.

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona in action during the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Internazionale and FC Barcelona at San Siro Stadium on November 6, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Lukasz Laskowski/Pres
PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images

Coutinho is prepared to drop deeper to remain active, and this was evident as Barca attempted to break the deadlock throughout.

Inter found it easy to operate between the Catalan side's attackers, and it seems a lifetime ago since Barca pressed the ball with unwavering vigour.

Dembele drifted into a No. 10 role in the second half, but Suarez was unable to use the tactical reposition to increase the overall threat.

The Uruguay international cut a frustrated figure, and Dembele was substituted with 10 minutes remaining.

Malcom came on for Dembele and scored his team's goal within 90 seconds of stepping onto the field for the Frenchman.

Ben Hayward of the London Evening Standard highlighted the strike:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Was right above where Malcom and Barça players celebrated. Even he couldn’t believe it! Seems he needs Dembélé to start in order to get chances, but took this one well. Good for him. https://t.co/nfljZgI2Rz

The Brazilian showed Dembele the type of clinical threat he should be after arriving to much fanfare from the Bundesliga.


Milan Skriniar Proving To Be One Of Europe's Elite Defenders

Skriniar is a defensive talent who many football fans wont know yet, but certainly will in the years to come.

Inter handled everything the visitors had to give in attack for most of the game, and it was the Slovakia defender who controlled the flow of traffic.

The Italians were comfortable in the first half despite Barca's superiority in possession, and Skriniar played with a fantastic level of poise.

The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent times, and it is clear why the Premier League giants would want a player of this character.

Richard Hall of Football Italia hailed the player's performance:

Richard Hall @RichHall80

Milan Skriniar is loving playing against Barcelona. There are so few exceptional defenders in modern football but this man is exemplary #InterBarca https://t.co/ThDbggA2d6

Skriniar is the perfect blend of a physical entity with technical attributes. It can only be a matter of time before a huge offer is made for his services.

Barca appeared the more likely to break the deadlock, but when Malcom found the net, it felt like Skriniar had done enough to earn the hosts a clean sheet.

Icardi's goal ensured Inter got the point they fully deserved.


What's Next

Barca and Inter return to domestic action on Sunday. The Blaugrana welcome Real Betis to the Camp Nou in La Liga, while Inter face a road trip to Atalanta in Serie A.