Inter go down fighting against Barca at the San Siro: 3 Talking Points
Going into the final match in Group F of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League, Internazionale had to match Borussia Dortmund's result.
That was not to be the case, as Antonio Conte's men failed to win against the second-string FC Barcelona side that Ernesto Valverde fielded at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan.
Dortmund beat Slavia Prague by two goals to one. That meant Inter needed to get three points against the Catalans, who opted to rest many first-team players.
Even though it was a spirited performance from the Nerazzurri, it was Barcelona who drew first blood before Romelu Lukaku equalised for the home side.
But, it was destination Europa League for Conte's Inter when youngster Ansu Fati produced the winner for the Blaugrana and put a dagger right through the Italian hearts.
We look at three talking points from the match at San Siro.
3. Young Barca pass the litmus test
With Barcelona ensured of progressing as Group winners, Valverde decided to not take any risks and named a supposedly weakened squad, with one eye on the La Liga fixtures.
Several first-team players were left out of the starting lineup, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto not even named in the squad.
Youngsters like Moussa Wague, Jean-Claire Todibo, and Carlez Perez were given starts, while fringe players like Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Alena got a chance to impress.
Even though they came up against Inter's more established regulars amidst a hostile crowd, the youthful Barca players seemed unfazed.
Carles Perez opened the scoring on his Champions League debut while La Masia product, Carlos Alena dominated the midfield.
It would have been heartening for Valverde to see even his second-string side producing such an inspired performance in an iconic football cauldron like the San Siro.
2. Wasteful Inter
Even though Internazionale put in a tough shift against Barcelona, one can not stress enough the fact that they were immensely wasteful in front of goal.
They had no less than 18 shots, and despite the strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez troubling the Catalan defence, Inter were not able to take their chances in key moments of the game.
Incredibly enough, Conte's men managed to score three goals that were ruled offside.
Lukaku was the culprit twice, while his Argentine counterpart, Martinez, was to blame for one such occasion.
Many easy chances were spurned, and that would have irked Conte to no end.
The Nerazzurri learnt a harsh footballing lesson at the San Siro as Barca proved to be clinical with respect to finishing their chances.
1. Fantastic Fati gets into the record book
Ansu Fati generated a buzz earlier in the season when he starred in the absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Things have calmed down a bit in recent weeks but the 17-year-old once again reminded everyone of his abilities in Milan.
It was expected that Fati would start the game but he was surprisingly left on the bench with Carles Perez and Antoine Griezmann leading the line.
He was eventually summoned from the bench in the 86th minute and he had an almost immediate impact, scoring the winner with what was virtually his first touch of the game.
With the goal, Fati wrote his name into the record books as he became the youngest player in history to score a Champions League goal, doing so, aged just 17 years and 40 days.
Cover image courtesy: Ronaldo.com