15 BARCELONA 1 INTER MILA N 0
Semi-final, Semi second leg, 2009-10
“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.