Barcelona’s Champions League knockout hopes are hanging by a thread as they could only manage a 3-3 draw to Inter Milan at the Spotify Camp Nou.
Barça played a great first half and took the lead at halftime, but an insane second half ended with a six-goal draw that leaves Inter just one win away from qualification to the Round of 16.
Barça are technically still alive, but this result means they will most likely, move to the Europa League for a second straight season.
Xavi Hernández made a controversial team selection, but his tactical setup quickly justfied his personnel choices.
Barça came out in a 3-4-3 formation with Marcos Alonso as a center-back, Sergi Roberto playing in midfield and Raphinha in his best position on the right wing.
Raphinha won the ball from Dimarco near the corner flag and found Sergi Roberto inside the box with a great pass, and Roberto found Dembélé for a tap-in and the Blaugrana’s opening goal.
Five second-half goals saw the contest swing from end to end at the Camp Nou.
Despite Lewandowski’s two goals, the Catalans are on the verge of Champions League group stage elimination for the second season in a row.
Inter rallied superbly after the restart, with goals from Nicolo Barella, former Barcelona transfer target Lautaro Martinez and Robin Gosens.
Poor show by Barca veterans
Xavi opted to stick with Gerard Pique in central defence, with skipper Sergio Busquets anchoring the midfield, on the night.
Pique was caught out by Nicolo Barella for Inter’s first equaliser, with Busquets too slow in possession in the build up to Lautaro Martinez’s goal.
The duo appear to be entering their final days as Barcelona players.
“We should have kept up the pace, the intensity of the first half and we didn’t,” a disappointed Xavi said.
“We don’t depend on ourselves and the Champions League is very complicated.”
“Football is a game of mistakes and we have to minimize them. In Munich it was effectiveness, in Milan other circumstances and tonight it was defensive mistakes.”
“If you don’t beat Inter at home, you don’t deserve to stay in this competition.
“Last season we didn’t have enough to compete, but this season we did. This time it was our mistakes.”
Xavi added: “I’m very disappointed, sad, frustrated… I’m angry. I have to be self-critical, we don’t deserve to play in the Champions League. It hurts me, but it’s the truth.”
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Eric, Piqué, Alonso (Balde 72’); Roberto (Kessie 72’), Busquets (De Jong 64’), Gavi (Ferran 84’); Pedri; Raphinha (Ansu Fati 64’), Lewandowski, Dembélé
Goals: Dembélé (40’), Lewandowski (82’, 90+2’)
Inter Milan: Onana; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni (Acerbi 85’); Dumfries, Barella (Asllani 85’), Çalhanoglu (Gosens 76’), Mkhitaryan, Dimarco (Darmian 66’); Lautaro, Dzeko (Bellanova 76’)
Goals: Barella (50’), Lautaro (63’), Gosens (89’)