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Match Report – Inter Milan 0 – 1 Real Madrid

One of many giant clashes in the return of the Champions League in midweek saw Inter Milan host Real Madrid at the San Siro on Wednesday. Here, we provide a match report on the tie.

Lineups

Inter Milan (3-5-2): Handanovic (c) – Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni – Darmian (sub 55′), Barella (sub 84′), Brozovic, Calhanoglu (sub 65′), Perisic (sub 55′) – Dzeko, Martinez (sub 65′)

Substitutes: Cordaz, Radu, Ranocchia, Kolarov, D’Ambrosio, Dumfries (sub 55′), Dimarco (sub 55′), Vecino (sub 84′), Gagliardini, Vidal (sub 65′), Correa (sub 65′), Sanchez

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois – Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho – Valverde, Casemiro, Modric (sub 80′) – Vasquez (sub 66′), Benzema (c), Vinicius Jr (sub 90+1′)

Substitutes: Fuidias, Lunin, Guetierrez, Vallejo, Blanco, Camavinga (sub 80′), Isco, Asensio (sub 90+1′), Jovic, Rodrygo (sub 66′), Diaz, Hazard

Gareth Bale - Real Madrid
Gareth Bale missed the trip to the San Siro due to injury

Match Report – First Half

Inter had by far the better of the first half between the two sides. The reigning Italian champions saw only slightly more of the ball, but created far more chances than the Spanish giants. Attempting 14 shots to Real’s five in just the first half is evidence of this dominance.

Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez both tested Thibaut Courtois with numerous close-range efforts, but the Belgian kept them at bay in a man-of-the-match display.

Missing top playmaker Toni Kroos and the revived Gareth Bale, Real struggled to get going in the first half. They had their backs to the wall for much of it and prioritised keeping out their opponents whilst they dominated.

Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois was in fine form for Real Madrid on Wednesday

Match Report – Second Half

It was the Bosnian Dzeko who was again testing Courtois in the Real goal in the second half. The striker towered high from a Hakan Calhanoglu corner to force the goalkeeper into his best save yet.

However, the visitors did take control of possession far more in the second half. As a result, the hosts were happy to sit deep and drop into a 5-3-2 formation out of possession.

The second half was far less eventful in terms of chances created, particularly from Inter’s point of view. That Dzeko effort from the corner was their only notable chance of the half. But they had still created enough in their search for three points to begin the new Champions League campaign.

After Inter missed all of their good chances created throughout the match, it was the visitors who snatched the winner just a minute from normal time. Their smash-and-grab style win was an example of why they are 13-time European Champions. They soaked up the pressure and took their chance when it mattered to take a vital win from the opener.

The goal arrived down Real Madrid’s left-hand side. Patient build-up play exploded into life through summer recruit Eduardo Camavinga, and after playing a one-two with Federico Valverde, the young French star laid the ball off for substitute Rodrygo to smash the ball home from close range.

Rodrygo
Rodrygo celebrates scoring the winner against Inter Milan in the dying minutes

Opinion – Real Madrid show why they are 13-time European Champions

This was a typical Real Madrid performance in the Champions League. Although they were far from their best, they still managed to do what champions do – they won. A solid defensive display, largely thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from goalkeeper Courtois, along with clinical finishing was the difference. Although they are not reigning champions right now, there is a reason why they are the club with by far the most European titles to their name.

Inter will clearly be disappointed with the result, particularly after dominating the first half. The Italians also created by far the greater number and quality of chances across the entire match. However, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff making up the other two teams in Group D, the Italian champions should expect to comfortably qualify for the knockout stages still.

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