Inter Milan stun Barcelona, set up final clash with Bayern

Champions League

Inter Milan stun Barcelona, set up final clash with Bayern

 Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) vies with Inter Milan's Cristian Chivu during the Champions League semi-final second leg football match on Wednesday. AFP

Jose Mourinho's Inter, who won the first game 3-1 last week, will face Bayern Munich in the final on May 22 in Madrid.

Despite Gerard Pique's 84th-minute goal, defending champions Barcelona were unable to find the crucial second goal as 10-man Inter held on, breathing a sigh of relief when Bojan Krkic had a stoppage-time effort chalked off for handball.

Inter will be playing in their first European Cup final since 1972 while Mourinho will attempt to lead the Italian giants to Europe's most prestigious prize for the first time since 1965.

Mourinho once again out-thought his counterpart Pep Guardiola in a tense tactical battle which went to the wire with the Italians having to survive an hour one player down following the first half dismissal of Thiago Motta.

"The coach was screaming in the dressing room, it was very emotional," said Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

"We defended with 10 men for so long. We were compact, fought for every metre and gave everything. Mourinho always gets his tactics right to destroy the opponents.
"We did it in Milan and we did it again tonight but in a different way."

Guardiola made two changes to his side from the first-leg, with Yaya Toure and Gabriel Milito replacing Maxwell and suspended captain Carles Puyol.

Gabriel's selection on the opposing side to Diego Milito meant brothers were playing in the same Champions League match for the first time.

Mourinho kept faith with the team which won the first leg 3-1 last week.
Inter showed their game plan from the start as they sat back, an ominous task against a top side and particularly so with the attacking flair at Barga's disposal.

After just three minutes Pedro came inside Maicon on the left wing but sent a wayward shot past the far post.

The Italians were doing their upmost to take the intensity out of the match delaying at set-plays and keeper Julio Cesar was shown a yellow card for repeatedly taking his time with goal kicks, but this only served to further raise the already electric atmosphere with the 90,000 Catalan fans whistling in frustration.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a shot from just six yards out but he was denied by a last ditch tackle from Walter Samuel and then Pedro drove a ball just past the post with Barga encamped on the edge of the Inter area.

The explosive atmosphere finally boiled over when Motta already with a yellow card for an earlier challenge swung an arm at Sergio Busquets, who was tugging at his shirt.

While Motta was furious with Busquets for what he saw as an over-reaction, the referee reached straight for the red card and Inter were left to battle with ten-men for the rest of the game.

The sending off did little to change the match as Inter continued to doggedly defy Barga and it was a telling statistic that at half time Inter had not had a single shot at goal.
Although not pleasing on the eye Inter were excelling at cutting out the threat from Barga.

Messi and Ibrahimovic were largely anonymous with the latter replaced by Bojan Krkic with half an hour to go.

Inter were growing into their job while Barga were resorting to shots from distance.
Dani Alves and Toure both tried their luck without going close and then the best chance fell to Bojan who headed wide from just a few yards.

The game appeared to be in control for Inter until Pique, now playing as an emergency centre-forward, turned in the box and tucked the ball into the corner leading to a grandstand finish.

Bojan thought he had won it but his superb finish in the third minute of injury time was ruled out for handball against Toure.

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