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Clash of the titans at San Siro

Published: Monday 12 April 2010, 8.45CET
Irresistible force meets immovable object when FC Internazionale Milano, undefeated at home, renew acquaintances with an FC Barcelona side unbeaten away for two years.
Published: Monday 12 April 2010, 8.45CET

Clash of the titans at San Siro

Irresistible force meets immovable object when FC Internazionale Milano, undefeated at home, renew acquaintances with an FC Barcelona side unbeaten away for two years.

FC Internazionale Milano welcome the holders to San Siro for the first leg of a UEFA Champions League semi-final rich in sub-plots.

• FC Barcelona travel to Italy seeking to become the first team since Inter's neighbours AC Milan 20 years ago to win back-to-back European crowns. As for Inter, their goal is a first final appearance in the competition since 1972 but first they must find the net against a Barcelona side whom they are yet to score against after four meetings.

• For the second time this season, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Maxwell return to their old stamping ground to face a Nerazzurri side featuring three former Barcelona players in Samuel Eto'o, Thiago Motta and Ricardo Quaresma.

• The presence of José Mourinho in the home dugout adds another layer of intrigue given his history as a former assistant coach at Barcelona – not to mention several high-profile contests with the Spanish titleholders during his time as Chelsea FC manager.

• Barcelona earned a goalless draw when they visited Inter in September and another closely contested encounter appears on the cards given the unbeaten records of both teams – the Nerazzurri at home and Josep Guardiola's visitors on the road – in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League.

Previous meetings
• These two sides need no introduction having met last autumn in the group stage. They drew 0-0 at San Siro on 16 September before reconvening in Barcelona on 24 November, the Catalan side prevailing 2-0 through first-half strikes from Gerard Piqué and Pedro Rodríguez.

• The clubs had previously met in the UEFA Champions League second group stage in 2002/03. Barcelona were 3-0 winners at the Camp Nou on 18 February 2003. Goals from Javier Saviola, Phillip Cocu and Patrick Kluivert secured a ninth successive victory in the UEFA Champions League proper, still a competition record.

• The return the following week finished goalless and both teams progressed to the quarter-finals, Barcelona as group winners. Yet Inter went further that season, reaching the last four.

• Inter's Javier Zanetti and Barcelona pair Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández played in both matches, with Andrés Iniesta an unused substitute at San Siro.

Match background
• Inter are aiming to lift the European Champion Clubs' Cup for the first time since their back-to-back triumphs in 1964 and 1965. They can take heart from the fact they have never lost a home semi-final match in the competition.

• This season the Italian titleholders are undefeated at San Siro in the UEFA Champions League, where they have registered three wins and two draws.

• Inter have played in seven previous semi-finals in Europe's elite club competition. Their record is four victories and three defeats:
2002/03 AC Milan: 0-0 (a), 1-1 (h)
1980/81 Real Madrid CF: 0-2 (a), 1-0 (h)
1971/72 Celtic FC: 0-0 (h), 0-0 (a, 5-4 pens)
1966/67 PFC CSKA Sofia: 1-1 (h), 1-1 (a), 1-0 (replay)
1965/66 Real Madrid: 0-1 (a), 1-1 (h)
1964/65 Liverpool FC: 1-3 (a), 3-0 (h)
1963/64 BV Borussia Dortmund: 2-2 (a), 2-0 (h)

• Besides losing two European Cup semi-finals to Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid, Inter also succumbed to Madrid twice at the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup in 1984/85 and 1985/86.

• The Nerazzurri achieved the first of their two European Cup successes by defeating Madrid 3-1 in the 1964 final in Vienna.

• Inter have lost just one of 17 home matches against Spanish clubs, recording eight wins and eight draws.

• They have a poor record in two-legged ties against teams from Spain, however, with four victories and nine defeats from 13 contests. The most recent occasion was against Valencia CF in the round of 16 in 2006/07 and brought an away-goals defeat.

• Inter coach Mourinho's record in UEFA Champions League semi-finals is mixed. He led FC Porto past RC Deportivo La Coruña in 2004 but fell at this stage with Chelsea in 2005 and 2007.

• Mourinho is hoping to lead Inter to the UEFA Champions League six years after winning it with Porto. Only Ernst Happel (Feyenoord 1970, Hamburger SV 1983) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (BV Borussia Dortmund 1997, FC Bayern München 2001) have won the European Cup as coaches of two different clubs. Bayern's Louis van Gaal, a winner with AFC Ajax in 1995, is also attempting the feat this time round.

• Holders Barcelona have recorded one win and four draws on the road in this term's UEFA Champions League. Their last away loss in the competition proper, qualifiers excluded, was in the 2007/08 semi-final at Manchester United FC.

• Barcelona have played in ten previous semi-finals and their record is five wins and five defeats:
2008/09 Chelsea FC: 0-0 (h), 1-1 (a)
2007/08 Manchester United FC: 0-0 (h), 0-1 (a)
2005/06 AC Milan: 1-0 (a), 0-0 (h)
2001/02 Real Madrid CF: 0-2 (h), 1-1 (a)
1999/2000 Valencia CF: 1-4 (a), 2-1 (h)
1993/94 FC Porto: 3-0 (h)
1985/86 IFK Göteborg: 0-3 (a), 3-0 (h, 5-4 pens)
1974/75 Leeds United AFC: 1-2 (a), 1-1 (h)
1960/61 Hamburger SV: 1-0 (h), 1-2 (a), 1-0 (replay)
1959/60 Real Madrid CF: 1-3 (a), 1-3 (h)

• Barcelona have failed to score in the last four semi-final home legs.

• The visitors' coach, Guardiola, was in the Barcelona side that defeated Porto in the 1993/94 semi-final, which was a one-off match. There was no semi-final stage in the 1991/92 competition.

• This is Barcelona's eighth trip to San Siro where their record is W2 D3 L2.

• Barça visited San Siro for the first leg of their 2005/06 UEFA Champions League semi-final against Milan and achieved a 1-0 success, Ludovic Giuly's 57th-minute strike the only goal of the tie.

• The Spanish club were twice successful in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals against Serie A sides, overcoming ACF Fiorentina in 1997 and Juventus in 1991.

• Overall Barcelona's record away to Italian opponents is W5 D6 L4. They have a strong record in two-legged ties against teams from the country, with six victories and three defeats.

• Barcelona lifted the European Cup for the first time after beating Italy's UC Sampdoria 1-0 in the 1992 final at Wembley. They lost the 1994 final 4-0 to Milan.

• The Blaugrana won last season's final on Italian soil, beating Manchester United 2-0 in Rome.

Team ties
• Mourinho served as an assistant to the late Sir Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal at Barcelona from 1996 to 2000.

• As Chelsea manager Mourinho oversaw a 5-4 aggregate defeat of Barcelona in the 2004/05 first knockout round but suffered a 3-2 overall loss at the same stage the next season. The 2006/07 campaign brought another reunion, this time in the group stage, with Chelsea finishing above Barça after a 1-0 home win and 2-2 away draw.

• Guardiola played in Italy between 2001 and 2003, making 24 appearances in Serie A for Brescia Calcio and another four for AS Roma.

• Eto'o spent five seasons with Barcelona from 2004. The Cameroon striker hit 109 goals in 144 league appearances, including 30 last season. In the UEFA Champions League he registered 18 in 43 games, scoring Barcelona's first goals in the final triumphs of 2006 and 2009.

• Motta made 96 league appearances for Barcelona between 2002 and 2007, scoring six goals. He was an unused substitute in the Blaugrana's 2-1 UEFA Champions League final defeat of Arsenal FC in 2006.

• Inter forward Diego Milito, 30, could line up against his 29-year-old brother Gabriel of Barcelona. The Argentinian siblings played together for two seasons with Real Zaragoza between 2005 and 2007.

• Only three sets of brothers have played against each other in UEFA club competition: Johannes (Celtic FC) and Atli Edvaldsson (Valur Reykjavík) in the first round of the 1974/75 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, Ronald (PSV Eindhoven) and Erwin Koeman (KV Mechelen) in the 1988 UEFA Super Cup and John Arne (AS Roma) and Bjørn Helge Riise (Fulham FC) in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Quaresma spent 2003/04 at the Camp Nou, making 22 Liga appearances and scoring once.

• During his three-year spell at Inter, Barcelona striker Ibrahimović hit 57 goals in 88 Serie A appearances and six in 22 UEFA Champions League games.

• An unused substitute for Barcelona at San Siro in September, Maxwell was also with Inter for three years from 2006 to 2009. The Brazil full-back made 79 appearances in Serie A and scored two goals.

• Thierry Henry scored twice for Arsenal in a 5-1 win at Inter in the 2003/04 group stage. The France forward previously suffered a UEFA Cup semi-final defeat at Inter's hands when playing for AS Monaco FC in 1996/97.

• Former Barcelona forward Jordi Cruyff – son of Camp Nou favourite Johan – hit the opening goal for Deportivo Alavés when they became the first, and so far only, Spanish team to beat Inter in Milan, prevailing 2-0 in a UEFA Cup fourth-round tie in 2000/01.

• The second leg is in Barcelona on 28 April. The victorious team will advance to the final in Madrid on 22 May where they will play either FC Bayern München or Olympique Lyonnais.

Last updated: 27/09/14 2.50CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2010/matches/round=2000031/match=2000487/prematch/background/index.html#clash+titans+san+siro

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