A great first half, along with the intense discipline of the B team players and a bit of luck in the shootout, were enough to ensure the first win of the preseason. Barça were up against a Brazilian side that is more into the rhythm of playing matches, which added additional virtue to the impressive image offered in the Allianz Arena, the same venue that will be used for the next Champions League final. In the end, poor shooting from the Brazilians in the penalties, with Zé Maria and Leandro both missing the target, handed Barça a victory in the Audi Cup that really should have been settled far earlier.

Barça looking great

Only three members of the team that won the Champions League title at Wembley (Valdés, Busquets and Iniesta) started the game, but the Barça game was the same as ever. Thiago showed that he is quite capable of leading the midfield and also revealed his skill in front of goal when the opener came from a brilliantly rehearsed set piece. Iniesta took a free kick on the edge of the area, which he passed short to Busquets who then slipped the ball through to Thiago, who appeared from nowhere to be one-on-one on goalkeeper Muriel. The midfielder scored Barça's first goal of the preseason with a precision finish to be proud of.

The goal was just what Barça deserved after playing the kind of beautiful football that went unrewarded in Split. But today they seemed to have stepped up a gear, and their possession play meant Inter barely got a look in in the first half. At times it looked like Inter was the team in its preseason and Barça was the side that had been together for six months. Frankly, the Catalans had their South American opponents outclassed both physically and tactically.

They were attacking down the wings and down the middle. Iniesta and Thiago produced some delightful combination plays, with Afellay also getting very involved with some long range shots on goal, including one that struck the post after 17 minutes.

Many changes and less pace

The second half wasn't quite as intense. Guardiola opted to change the forward line completely by sending on Villa, Jeffren and Pedro. Jonathan Dos Santos was sent on in midfield, and he also changed the full backs (Balliu and Abidal) and goalkeeper (Pinto). So many changes caused a certain imbalance and Inter pounced on the chance to exploit a Barcelona side that was still readjusting to tie the game after Nei latched onto the end of a Pinto clearance. That had been the first real chance of the match for the side from Porto Alegre, and they had found the net.

The first team players started leaving the pitch (Thiago, Busquets and Keita), but Barça never lost control of the game and continued looking for the win. The second finally came thanks to Jonathan Dos Santos in the 63rd minute, with a great finish from the edge of the area following a Carmona assist. It looked like it was all going to end 2-1.

Unfair equaliser and penalties

There were six Barça B players on the field by this point, and Inter weren't going to lie down and be beaten quite so easily and managed to equalise the game from a corner. Leandro was waiting at the far post to convert an 85th minute goal that meant we were heading for penalties.

Luck was on the Catalans' side in the shootout. Leandro and Andrezinho both missed the target. Although Jeffren also missed his spot kick, Armando scored Barça's fourth which was enough to secure passage to the final, although this was not a game that they should have allowed to be decided this way.


1-0 Villa, 1-1 Kleber, 2-1 Dos Santos, 2-1 Leandro (fora), 3-1 Carmona, 3-2 Andrezinho, 3-2 Jeffren (atura Muriel), 3-2 Zé Maria (fora), 4-2 Armando

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