Barcelona were able to come away with a victory against Inter at the San Siro
Minutes for the fringe squad players have dried up since the beginning of the season, when Lionel Messi and others were having fitness problems. But Barcelona’s bench proved itself against Inter Milan away from home, winning 2-1.
Carles Aleñá got only his second start of the season, while Moussa Wagué, Jean-Clair Todibo and Carles Pérez made their Champions League debuts. All four players were hugely impressive, coming up against big names like Diego Godín and Romelu Lukaku.
Pérez got onto the scoresheet to mark his debut in Europe, providing an incisive finish to give Barça the lead. The winner was scored by substitute Ansu Fati, who has seen himself relegated to the bench recently after a fantastic start to his Barça career.
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Wagué made a total of four tackles, and was an attacking threat from full-back. Aleñá made the highest number of passes for Barça, and made three successful dribbles. The La Masia graduate’s performance showed that he deserves more minutes.
But very clearly, the standout performer was Todibo. The 19-year old French centre-back outshadowed his more experienced compatriots Samuel Umtiti and Clément Lenglet to produce a performance worthy of a berth in the first-team.
Todibo made 8 successful tackles, and his passing was key in Barça’s build-up play. The youngster even had an attempt on target, which was saved by Samir Handanović. The ex-Toulouse man is a very talented player, and his Inter display shows that he is capable of performing under pressure.
Apart from individual performances, Barça were good as an unit too. Ernesto Valverde changed up the formation, going for a 5-3-2. Veterans like Arturo Vidal and Antoine Griezmann could not live up to expectations, and were bettered by their younger peers.
But overall, Barça managed to adapt to the radical change in formation with relative ease. Although Inter were given many opportunities to find the back of the net, a combination of luck and debutant Neto’s performance got Barça the victory.