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Barça on verge of last eight

Published: Wednesday 26 February 2003, 23.00CET
Internazionale FC 0-0 FC Barcelona Barcelona's winning run comes to an end in Milan.
Published: Wednesday 26 February 2003, 23.00CET

Barça on verge of last eight

Internazionale FC 0-0 FC Barcelona Barcelona's winning run comes to an end in Milan.

FC Barcelona moved to within a point of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals thanks to a hard-fought goalless draw against Internazionale FC in Group A.

Run ended
Radomir Antic's side are almost assured of a place in the last eight despite their eleven-match winning run coming to an end at the Giuseppe Meazza - but Inter will be ruing Christian Vieri's glaring miss just after half-time which could have sealed three vital points for the home side.

Cúper changes
Inter coach Héctor Cúper made three changes to the side which lost 3-0 at Camp Nou on Matchday 9, bringing in Mohamed Kallon, Guly and Giovanni Pasquale for Luigi Di Biagio, Iván Cordoba and Alvaro Recoba, who began a three-match suspension following his dismissal in Spain.

Early scare
Barça coach Antic made just one alteration, replacing the injured Marc Overmars with Fabio Rochemback, but it seemed his side would have a mountain to climb when Vieri blasted the ball into the net inside the first two minutes. However, the Italy striker had been ruled offside before drilling a spectacular rising shot past Roberto Bonano from 16 metres.

Dalmat dominance
Buoyed by the neat footwork of Stéphane Dalmat, Inter made a lively start and could have gone a goal to the good on 17 minutes when Kallon controlled a bouncing ball superbly and attempted an audacious angled shot from 20 metres, but his effort dipped over the crossbar.

Gabri guilty
Patrick Kluivert went close with a header for Barça before Dalmat's pacy dribble ended with a low shot well saved by Bonano on 25 minutes. Then the first half's best chance fell to Gabri García, but after collecting Javier Saviola's sliding pass, the 23-year-old lashed an angled shot high and wide.

San Siro stunned
Vieri had chances either side of the interval, watching Bonano make a good save in added time before the break then inexplicably missing from four metres out three minutes after the restart. The burly striker edged away from his marker but headed a left-wing cross the wrong side of the post to the disbelief of everybody in the stadium.

Vieri miscue
Dalmat and his replacement, Akinwunmi Martins Obafemi, both had half-chances for Inter either side of another Vieri mistake on 64 minutes. A poor defensive header from Frank de Boer, the most experienced player on the field with 117 appearances on the European stage, gave the Italian another chance, but he failed to connect with the ball as it dropped eight metres from goal.

Barça bite back
The game's best late chances both fell to the visitors. With Saviola returning from an offside position, Kluivert held off his marker to charge into the Inter area but shot weakly at Toldo. Then, four minutes from full time, Saviola released Gabri with a weighted pass, but once again the midfield player missed the target with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Last updated: 27/02/03 14.14CET

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