• Sweden's news in English

Ibrahimovic shines in Inter stalemate

AFP/The Local · 17 Sep 2009, 08:07

Published: 17 Sep 2009 08:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The match was billed as a battle between returning icons, Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, both playing against the team they left only two months ago. But neither was able to apply the finishing touch and break the deadlock in a turgid stalemate.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for such a big match between two European heavyweights so early in the competition it developed into a cagey affair despite a promising opening with Inter keen to secure their defence as Barcelona pushed for an opening.

The Spanish champions enjoyed a massive 63 percent possession although the myriad talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Henry and Ibrahimovic were unable to unlock the solid Inter rearguard.

But that suited Inter boss Jose Mourinho.

"It's the beginning of the competition, it's the first match. It's not an easy group, it's no joke," he said. "There are other groups that seem like a joke and one without a single national champion, in ours there are four champions."

"It's a good point against the European champions who at the moment play the best football in Europe."

"I'm happy with the way we played, with the concentration. Defensively the game went well."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said his team needed to create more to win the game but did not point the finger of blame at Ibrahimovic, who had a couple of decent chances to seal the tie.

"Maybe we didn't have many chances but it's never easy to play against Italian teams. There's nothing more to it, we just didn't have many chances," he said.

"Ibrahimovic did well, he had a good chance in the first half. Less so in the second but it's never easy and he kept trying so I'm happy with him."

Barcelona were quickly into their running, passing the ball around confidently.

Messi needed only two minutes to work some space on the edge of the box but his shot was too close to Julio Cesar in the Inter goal.

The Spaniards were dictating play and Brazilian international Dani Alves released former Inter striker Ibrahimovic on eight minutes with a simple diagonal crossfield ball.

It was the chance the big Sweden forward must have been dreaming of in the build up to the game as he sought to silence the critics who jeered him on his return to the club he walked out on in the summer.

His first touch to control the ball on his chest was exquisite but the grandstand finish he craved did not materialise as he sliced his right-foot volley high and wide.

Alves was finding acres of space down the right as Sulley Muntari failed time and again to track him and the Brazilian picked out Messi with a cross but the little Argentine wizard's header lacked power.

It was almost the half hour mark when Inter managed to gain a foothold in the game and a long ball released Diego Milito who turned inside Gerard Pique but shot too close to Victor Valdes.

Moments later Eto'o teed up Wesley Sneijder but the former Real Madrid midfielder couldn't keep his shot down.

Story continues below…

Barcelona should have gone in front on 41 minutes as an inch perfect Xavi chip over the defence picked out Alves, but his first touch took him backwards and he opted to play the ball back to Kader Keita rather than shoot, with the Malian midfielder screwing his effort well wide.

In the last minute of the half Messi cut in off the right wing in typical fashion but Cesar was equal to his shot.

Inter started the second half well with Sneijder firing just wide on 47 minutes but Barcelona quickly re-asserted control without creating more than a few half chances.

Inter were still lively on the counter-attack and Eto'o released Milito on 66 minutes but the Argentine hesitated before setting up substitute Dejan Stankovic whose shot dipped just over.

Barcelona finally created a gilt-edged opportunity when Thierry Henry's scuffed shot on 73 minutes squeaked through to the edge of the six-yard box where both Messi and Alves ran onto it.

But the Argentine, over-stretching, nicked the ball off the better-placed Brazilian's foot and cleared the cross-bar.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:56 September 17, 2009 by Luckystrike
At which point did Zlatan "Shine" or "produce his best performance yet" ?? Maybe i missed these "moments" during my "P" break...
09:08 September 17, 2009 by jamesy
Maybe I also have not been watching Zlatan closely enough but he has not exactly stood out or proven himself.

What is it with the Swedish media and their obsession with always building him up.
09:10 September 17, 2009 by gnhundu
Like you, luckystrike we must have been watching a game different from the reporter because i did not see "his best performance yet"? Or perhaps i went for a "p" break too...and my "p" break must have been as long as the whole game!!!
09:30 September 17, 2009 by villjobba
He is their only star. I knew they'd make a hype out of his performance which was clearly below standard. Funny how all Swedes metamorphosed into Barca fans overnight . Sad.
10:12 September 17, 2009 by kunta
Swedes have always supported Barca. Remember that a few years back Larsson was a Barca striker and he was good. I think it is fair to say the coming of Zlatan has don not more than excites Swedish Barca fans.
12:25 September 17, 2009 by Mzungu
Shines! ....Yeah like a shilling on a sweeps ass!

17:29 September 17, 2009 by Dinaricman
Don't forget he is 1/2 Croatian people.
18:08 September 17, 2009 by bravedave
He is both Bosnian and Croatian as well as being Swedish. I can not see how he shined, did he score? No.
20:24 September 17, 2009 by Seltue12
Well he didn't shine and I think the Brazilian defender Lúcio single handedly took him from the game. Eto was the better of the two even though he had limited service. The champion leaque will prove is he a world class striker as Swedish media proclaim him to be.
13:47 September 23, 2009 by jackthelad
Funnily enough, Ibra has scored in every league game for Barca so far (4 in 4). 3 of them breaking the deadlock. Strange to call this his best game, although his only real chance was created by himself. Eto'o isn't really able to create chances by himself, and as excellent a finisher as he is, he needs service. Also, when he isn't scoring, he doesn't offer much. He isn't able to act as a target man, holding up the ball etc.

Ibra, though, offers a lot even when he isn't scoring. This is why top managers rate him. A player who can act as a target man, is technically brilliant, can score 20+ goals, and provide assists? He is a dream player for a manager. Even without the goals, he'd be one of the top players around. Players like Hesky get praise for there ability to hold up the ball, yet Hesky scores about 5 goals a season. He is still a valuable player of course.

Ibra though, can do both. Just look at Ibra's last assist for Barca.....5 defenders around him, but he held them off as he cooly back heeled for Pique to score from a few yards. He has demonstrated a few pieces of great skill so far for barca, and without teams being able to focus on just him (ala inter) he will be even harder to control.

Against Inter, Messi had a quiet match and henry was pretty terrible, but zlatan draws the criticism again.
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available