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Icardi bags 87th minute-equaliser but Barcelona qualify for Champions League knockout stages

Ernesto Valverde’s side grabbed a point at the San Siro on Tuesday to book their place in the last sixteen.

Mauro Icardi celebrates levelling against Barcelona.
Mauro Icardi celebrates levelling against Barcelona.
Image: Luca Bruno

BARCELONA QUALIFIED FOR the knockout stage of the Champions League despite Mauro Icardi snatching a late 1-1 draw for Inter Milan at the San Siro on Tuesday.

Icardi struck in the 87th minute to grab the draw just four minutes after a neat curling strike from substitute Malcom gave Barca the lead.

Ernesto Valverde’s side, who stay top of Group B with 10 points, three ahead of Inter and six away from third-placed Spurs, go through due to their strong head-to-head record with both rivals.

Barca were on the front foot from kick-off and Ousmane Dembele forced Inter keeper Samir Handanovic into the first of a series of fine saves with a sharp curling strike just a minute into the game.

That dominance continued throughout the first period as Barca had almost complete command of the ball and goalscoring chances, Inter’s sole opportunity coming in the 19th minute when Kwadwo Asamoah flashed over Ivan Perisic’s low cross.

Imago 20181106 Arturo Vidal in action for Barcelona at the San Siro. Source: Imago/PA Images

Inter struggled to string passes together under the weight of Barca’s pressing, and Handanovic had to be at his best to stop fine efforts from Luis Suarez and former Inter player Philippe Coutinho putting the away side ahead before the break.

The Slovenia international made his best save just before the hour mark when he charged out to block Ivan Rakitic’s shot as the Croatian bore down on goal, but made a host of other saves that kept Inter in the game.

Icardi rewarded Handanovic for his outstanding display by grabbing the equaliser at the death, taking advantage of confusion in the Barca penalty area to spin and fire home a dramatic equaliser.

© – AFP 2018

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