STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score in the Champions League as his late strike cemented the Spanish side’s place atop Group F, condemning Inter to a 2-1 defeat on the night.
Ernesto Valverde started with an unfamiliar 5-3-2 formation, choosing to leave Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Frankie de Jong on the bench, as Antoine Griezmann led the Blaugrana line alongside Carles Perez.
That was an inspired decision as Perez gave Barcelona the lead 23 minutes in with a goal on his Champions League debut. However, Romelu Lukaku levelled proceedings just before half time.
But just one minute after coming on Ansu stroked home a Luis Suarez lay off to ensure all three points for Barcelona. Inter meanwhile will drop into the Europa League after Borussia Dortmund beat Slavia Prague 2-1.
Inter had the first chance of the game when Romelu Lukaku’s misplaced pass sent Borja Valero in on goal, but the 34-year-old Spaniard didn’t have the pace and eventually found Danilo D’Ambrosio who blasted over from just inside the box.
Moments later Lukaku did have the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside, and a stinging Inter counter saw the Belgian get himself free in the area, only for his shot from six yards to be deflected over the bar by Clement Lenglet.
Lautaro Martinez outmuscled Samuel Umtiti 35 yards out and fed Lukaku, who in turn found Cristiano Biraghi racing towards goal and the full-back’s ferocious strike was beaten away by Neto.
Then very much against the run of play Barcelona took the lead when a seemingly innocuous ball into Arturo Vidal bounced off the leg of the Chilean and into the path of Perez who slammed into the net.
Barcelona almost scored an identical goal just after the half hour, this time a corner was floated in and fell to an unmarked Lenglet, though he could only drag his effort wide.
Lautaro showed great control to bring down a long ball from Stefan De Vrij and then his immediate strike was pushed out by Neto.
Inter were on the hunt for an equaliser and a quick flurry of passes allowed Biraghi to cross for D’Ambrosio who couldn’t get his header on target.
It did come just before the break thanks to excellent hold up play from Lautaro, who held off Jean-Clair Todibo which left enough space for Lukaku to drive past Neto and into the net from the edge of the penalty area 44 minutes in.
Not long after the break Inter should have taken the lead when Lukaku, again showing his strength, got the better of Umtiti but one-on-one with Neto, he fired straight at the goalkeeper.
Another chance came the way of Lukaku after Inter won he ball in midfield, Lautaro played in the No.9 but in trying to round Neto his touch was heavy and the ball rolled out of play.
Vidal flash a chance just wide, while at the other end Lautaro and Lukaku went close for the home side, who also had the ball in the net for a second time, but Lautaro was offside.
And again Inter thought they had taken the lead, but Matteo Politano’s blocked shot fell to Lukaku, who was in an offside position.
Barcelona should have wrapped up the game with a five on two counter attack, but Perez blasted high over the crossbar from just inside the penalty box.
Then a hammer blow on 85 minutes for Inter which emptied the Stadio Meazza as Ansu Fati had a go from the edge of the penalty area and it rolled in off Samir Handanovic’s right-hand post.