Sports

Barça through to Champions League last 16 despite late Inter equaliser

Barça through to Champions League last 16 despite late Inter equaliser

Messi travelled with Barcelona to Italy for the European tie, and it had been thought that the Argentine would be included on the bench having returned to training last week.

After enduring what you might politely describe as a "torrid" start to his Barcelona career, summer signing Malcom finally notched his first goal for the club in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw against Inter Milan - his Champions League debut.

Skriniar, who joined Inter from Sampdoria for €20m (£17m) in 2017, played every minute of Serie A football last season, scoring four goals as Inter returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12.

That says so much about Messi. Cultural Leonesa were only beaten 1-0, although it was a heavily rotated XI and they had to come from behind with two late goals to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2. But wins, in any form, can not be overlooked.

Luis Suarez scored twice on Saturday, the second an 89th-minute victor to complete a late comeback against Rayo.

More news: LaMelo Ball returns to high school; LiAngelo to enter G

Barca, without injured Lionel Messi, were left to lament throwing away three points from a game in which they created more than enough chances to win but couldn't get past the superb Slovenia worldwide in the Inter goal. "He is going to help us a lot". "We know they will score many goals together again".

That, presumably, would have extended to Messi - who also made the trip to Inter.

Luis Enrique is yet to pick him for Spain but it would be hard to justify ignoring the full-back again when the next squad is announced later this week.

"The whole team has taken a step forward", the Spain global said. "Under the new coach I'm not being picked but I'm working on it".

Then, Rafinha's Barca future looked bleak but Valverde's preference carries a clear message to the likes of Dembele and Malcom about the value he places on concentration, pressing off the ball and teamwork.


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