This article is part of Football FanCast’s Off the Bench series, which places in-game managerial decisions and squad selections under FFC’s microscope.
Barcelona beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday but they were largely indebted to one tactical change from manager Ernesto Valverde.
The Catalan giants welcomed Inter to the fortress of Camp Nou and after an exciting clash, the Blaugrana took all three points.
Still, the Nerazzurri caused them all sorts of trouble and they even got pretty close to returning home with at least some of the points on the night. After all, they ended the game with 11 shots compared to Barcelona’s 17.
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The difference is there but so was Inter’s constant threat. And who knows, maybe the situation could’ve been different had Valverde not made the right call in the second half.
He decided to take off Sergio Busquets and send Arturo Vidal onto the pitch, and that substitution probably won Barca the game.
The 32-year-old Chilean midfielder only played a total of 37 minutes in the clash against Inter Milan but his presence was huge.
In that time, he made the crucial assist for Luis Suarez’s first goal that levelled things for Barca but he also brought in some much-needed energy and vigour.
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Once he was introduced, it was like Barcelona were a completely different team, pressing higher up the pitch, pushing for the win and showing the aggressive side that was needed to turn things around.
Vidal also tallied 95.7% passing accuracy, one key pass and three long balls, successfully making a big impact on the game and pulling his weight on the night.
Of course, Lionel Messi and Suarez will get most of the praise but the Chilean was definitely the one that made the wheel spin and started what ended up becoming a great comeback.
Now they have to take that momentum and ride the wave moving forward.
And if this game is any indication, Vidal is bound to be a big part of it all.