Pique, Pedro strike as Barcelona dominate Inter

Barcelona outplayed Inter from start to finish in their Group F Champions League clash at Camp Nou, running out 2-0 winners thanks to first half goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro.

The Blaugrana are now on the verge of qualification to the knockout stages after a dominant performance where the Nerazzurri rarely threatened.

In undoubtedly the biggest game of the competition so far, all eyes were on Catalonia as the respective coaches Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho locked horns.

Yaya Toure was omitted for Barcelona after picking up the H1N1 virus, while Dmytro Chygrynskiy was ineligible. The unfit Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat on the bench meaning a forward trident of Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry and Pedro.

Inter, who could have qualified with a win, were without Davide Santon and Wesley Sneijder, the latter who failed a late fitness test before kick-off. They were otherwise at full strength as Samuel Eto'o partnered Diego Milito up-front.

Barcelona attacked right from the start, and Inter barely managed to get out of their own half in the opening stages as the home side launched wave after wave.

A goal was inevitable, and it arrived on 10 minutes as a corner from the left was flicked on for Gerard Pique to fire home at the back post.

Barca continued to attack. Iniesta got in behind enemy lines, but perhaps too unselfishly decided to cross the ball. Henry's ferocious drive was beaten away by Julio Cesar, although the Frenchman was offside.

The second Barcelona goal arrived on 27 minutes following a brilliant team move. One touch passes were exchanged before Dani Alves lifted the ball up to the back post forPedro to volley into the far corner.

It took until the 35th minute for Inter to register their first shot as a mistake from Victor Valdes ended in an attempted lob by Dejan Stankovic, but his effort was well over.

Some of Barcelona's one-touch passing was a delight to watch, and there were long stretches where Inter could get nowhere near the ball, as the likes of Iniesta and Xavi ran the show.

Inter made one change at half-time as Sulley Muntari replaced Esteban Cambiasso.

The Nerazzurri had the first chance of the second half as Maicon released Milito. The Argentine opted to square the ball to Eto'o, who was shouldered off the ball by Dani Alves. Eto'o asked for a penalty, but the referee didn't want to know.

It should have been 3-0 on 53 minutes as Dani Alves crossed to Xavi, but the Spaniard's header was somehow clawed out of the bottom corner by Julio Cesar. It was a miraculous stop.

Julio Cesar continued to excel, and he got down well to turn a Xavi free kick around the post.

Eto'o managed to escape his man, but sliced the ball horribly off target, before Mario Balotelli was thrown on in the last 20 minutes in a 4-3-3.

Henry blazed over from distance, while Thiago Motta headed wide down the other end as Barcelona ran out 2-0 winners.

This result means that the final day in Group F will decide matters. Barcelona are top with 8 points, followed by Inter (6), Rubin Kazan (6) and Dinamo Kiev (5).

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