Semi-fi­nal, Semi sec­ond leg, 2009-10

Australian Four Four Two - - FEATURES -

“The play­ers left their blood out on the pitch,” Jose Mour­inho proudly an­nounced af­ter a nar­row de­feat at the Camp Nou that was enough for his In­ter side to scrape into the 2010 fi­nal. Their per­for­mance was typ­i­cally Mour­inho: dogged, de­fen­sive and de­ci­sive – a plan borne of ne­ces­sity due to the early red card for Thi­ago Motta (top). A ter­rific 3-1 first-leg win had put the tre­ble-chas­ing Ital­ians in con­trol, but with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic among their ranks, the reign­ing Span­ish and Euro­pean kings were more than ca­pa­ble of re­cov­er­ing. Motta’s dis­missal – for ap­pear­ing to catch Ser­gio Bus­quets in the neck – was far­ci­cal, thanks to the Barça mid­fielder’s comic over­re­ac­tion. Bus­quets hit the deck clutch­ing his face be­fore peep­ing at the ref­eree through his fin­gers. In­ter were not amused. Even Cameroo­nian striker Sa­muel Eto’o mucked in de­fen­sively as the Ner­az­zurri clung on for dear life. Ger­ard Pique scored late on, but it was not enough. When the full-time whis­tle fi­nally sounded, Mour­inho ma­ni­a­cally sprinted across the pitch, wind­milling his arm like an Ibe­rian Mick Chan­non. His cel­e­bra­tions were only halted when a Camp Nou grounds­man turned on the sprin­klers.

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