Champions League Semi-Finals

20 04 2010

The season opened with this massive trade and now the two men will battle to make it to Madrid.

Internazionale  v  Barcelona

Today the Spanish travel to Milan to steal the all important away goal from the Italian giants.  The Giuseppe Meazza will be packed.

Both the teams met back in September, during the group stages, and Barcelona left Italy with a 0-0 quiet victory.  They then knocked around Milan back home at the Camp Nou in November.  This is a different Milan squad and the game should be a wonderful match between the two of the world’s best teams.   Barca also comes into the game having had to drive from Spain through to Cannes, France and then finally into Italy last night.  A 14 hour total drive.   I’ll let the Associated Press explain why…

MILAN (AP) – Italian airspace is gradually reopening.
Officials say a handful of flights have resumed to and from Milan airports under a plan to allow a gradual resumption Tuesday of domestic air traffic. Italy started reopening its airports at 0800 (0600 GMT).
The ban that started over the weekend closed northern airports including Milan and Venice as a cloud of ashes from an Icelandic volcano spread, causing huge disruptions for air travelers across Europe.
– AP

The game should be a battle of styles the revamped 4-3-1-2 of Inter allows for its playmaker, Wesley Sneijder, to control the tempo.   The fluid 4-3-3 of Barca allows for its top end scorers to make quick runs through the heart of any defense and there game is all about shots on goal (the more the merrier).  These contrasting style’s should make a great battle, especially with Andres Iniesta still out for the Spanish.

Players to Watch:

Barcelona – Zlatan Ibrahimović – Swedish Striker needs to Score.

Lionel Messi has been on a tear as of late (what he did to Arsenal was freaking wild), but Zlatan coming back to Milan is going to be the real treat.  He’s always been an outrageous figure and the Italians will have a field day booing him.  In 8 CL matches he’s netted 4 goals and he’ll be sniffing the net all game long today.  His size and incredible ball-handling skills have allowed him to remain a top ten striker over the last five or six years easily and a goal today would amp him up to another level.  The Sensational Swede Shall Score.

Inter Milan – Maicon – The Brazilian Winger is key to Inter’s attack.

Maicon has been a staple on the Brazilian National squad and Inter’s squad for his great wing runs and stout defense.  The added bonus of facing his Brazilian teammate Dani Alves (who is right behind Maicon on the National team depth chart) should give Maicon the push to play his ass off.  He looked great against Barcelona back in September and he seems to always step up in big games.  His name has been floated around as possible big transfer in May.  His size, speed, and offensive ability make him the perfect duel-threat on the right-side of defense.  No doubt about it Maicon has to stop either Ibra or Messi today for Inter to gain the victory.

I’m still leaning on Barcelona moving on, but I don’t see them winning today.  It should be a close game, but I like a 2-1 victory for the Italians.  Tomorrow we’ve got Munich vs Lyon.  Great football happening right now!!




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