Barcelona’s fate was essentially set before Xavi’s team’s 3-0 loss to Group C champions Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp.
Romelu Lukaku scored a late goal for Inter as a substitute to mark his injury recovery as they easily triumphed and moved on to the round of 16. Edin Dzeko scored twice in the 4-0 triumph after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s opening strike.
Barcelona will participate in the second-tier event in Europe for the second consecutive year and will be a lock to place third. The Spanish powerhouses failed to uplift the audience during their final home group match as Bayern maintained their unblemished record in the Champions League this season thanks to goals from Sadio Mane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the first half.
Anthony Taylor, the referee, overturned his previous penalty decision after reviewing Matthijs de Ligt’s challenge on former Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski on the pitchside monitor, giving Barcelona what they believed to be a lifeline. The German forward still finished the match with three assists, and in the fifth minute of stoppage time, substitute Benjamin Pavard made matters even worse for Barcelona. After the break, Serge Gnabry’s curling goal was disallowed for offside.
Even though many home fans left before the final whistle, others did stick around to applaud when their players came back onto the field after a disastrous night for the squad.
With a victory over Viktoria Plzen, Inter Milan qualified for the Champions League knockout round and advanced Barcelona into the Europa League. After holding their fate in their own hands with a 3-3 draw at Barcelona two weeks previously, Inter, under the direction of Simone Inzaghi, completed the task with one game remaining. Inter now has five victories overall in their past six games after this triumph.