24.11.09 / 22:59
BARCELONA - The Barça passing machine proved too strong for Inter on the night as the reigning European champions ran out 2-0 winners in Tuesday's Champions League clash.
Gerard Piqué and Pedro Rodriguez did the damage with goals in the first half to put Barcelona on top of Group F, but qualification will go down to the wire, with all four teams still in with a chance of a place in the last sixteen.
Both sides were without key players for Matchday 5 at the Camp Nou. Messi and Ibrahimovic warmed the bench for Barcelona while Sneijder took his place in the stands after being deemed unfit to play.
Barcelona had never lost two consecutive home games in Europe and the hosts made a strong start. Their first goal came on 10 ten minutes, Piqué stealing in at the far post to knock home Henry's headed flick from a Xavi Hernandez corner.
The Catalan side's nifty winger Pedro volleyed in off Julio Cesar on 26 minutes for their second goal after meeting a right-wing cross from Dani Alves who was picked out in space on the right.
Inter had to wait until the 43rd minute for their first shot on goal, Milito testing Valdes from 20 yards, but Barcelona came close to a third on the stroke of half time, Julio Cesar blocking Keita's flicked header from Xavi's corner.
Barcelona churned out more chances after the break and Julio Cesar made a fantastic save from Xavi early on, before making a tipped save from Dani Alves midway through.
Inter matched their opponents in terms of ball possession in the second half, resulting in more opportunities coming forward.
Stankovic forced a good save from Valdes with a low angled drive directed at the bottom corner, Eto'o was repeatedly denied by the offside flag, and Thiago Motta had a late chance to score what would have been a vital goal for Inter's goal difference, but his header from Maicon's cross was off the mark.
Barcelona 2-0 Inter (HT: 2-0)
Scorers: Piqué 10, Pedro 26.
Barcelona: 1 Valdes; 2 Dani Alves, 3 Piqué, 5 Puyol, 22 Abidal (19 Maxwell 89); 6 Xavi, 16 Busquets, 15 Keita; 8 Iniesta (28 Jonathan 90+5), 17 Pedro (11 Bojan 85), 14 Henry.
Subs not used: 13 Pinto, 4 Marquez, 9 Ibrahimovic, 10 Messi.
Coach: Josep Guardiola.
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso (11 Muntari 46), 8 Thiago Motta; 5 Stankovic (45 Balotelli 71); 22 Milito (7 Quaresma 82), 9 Eto'o.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 2 Cordoba, 14 Vieira, 23 Materazzi.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland).
Booked: Thiago Motta 18, Puyol 34, Pedro 50, Chivu 80, Zanetti 88.