MILAN (AP) — Barcelona’s attempt to becoming European soccer’s first repeat champion in two decades was jeopardized with a 3-1 loss to Inter Milan on Tuesday night in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.
Barcelona appeared fatigued as the game went on, perhaps from a 450-mile bus trip the team was forced to take. Flights were grounded across Europe following the volcanic eruption in Iceland, and Inter may have to take a similar trip for the second leg of the total-goals series in Barcelona next Wednesday.
Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito scored for Inter, seeking to become Europe’s champion for the first time since consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965. Inter frustrated FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi, whose four goals in the second leg of the quarterfinals eliminated Arsenal.
Pedro Rodriguez scored on a low shot in the 19th minute for Barcelona, but Sneijder tied the score off a pass from Milito in the 30th minute and Maicon put Inter ahead in the 48th on an overlapping run,l again from a Milito pass.
Milito scored the final goal on a header in the 61st after Samuel Eto’o broke down a wing and crossed to Sneijder, who nodded the ball back.
AC Milan was the last repeat champion, winning when the competition was known as the Champions Cup in 1989 and 1990.
Barcelona captain Carles Puyol will be suspended for the second leg because of a yellow card for a foul on Milito.
In the other semifinal, Bayern Munich hosts Lyon on Wednesda.