Inter Milan gained some valuable experience in the UEFA Champions League by obtaining a good result against one of the best attacking teams on the planet. Let’s take a look at some of the better performers on the night.
Do any Inter Milan supporters out there watch History Channel’s Vikings? If by chance you do, you will know that there is a character called Bjorn Ironside, who bears a striking resemblance to our centre back - Milan Skriniar.
Both he and Skriniar have courage beyond measure. It is no secret that Barcelona have had interest in Skriniar and he proved over the two legs, that he’s not afraid to play the ball out the back and show personality against Barcelona. He was better than both Miranda and Stefan De Vrij over the two legs.
There was a defensive frailty in the Barcelona side which was not exploited to the fullest. Perisic, at times, glided past Sergi Roberto as if he weren’t even there, with such ease. Maybe Spalletti ordered Perisic to do this more often but we do not know if it was a failure on the skipper’s part or the player’s.
If this was properly taken advantage of then it could have potentially changed the outcome of both matches. Over the two legs he did play some passes that should’ve been scored. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly is lacking in Perisic’s game right now, but it’s safe to say that he’s not in his best form.
I’ve been trying hard to figure out this enigmatic player we have at our disposal. He just isn’t the type of player that will ever become my favourite, and I’ve seen comments. Lots of people don’t like him. I realise now that Vecino is quintessentially the epitome of an Alex Ferguson player. His presence in the box causes chaos and poor clearances. He manages to connect with headers out of nowhere in the dying minutes of games.
Make no mistake, Sir Alex Ferguson would have loved a player like Matias Vecino. In addition to this realization, I’ve also noticed another way in which he has become useful. His shadow runs into the box give Mauro Icardi options. There have been several moments (even though quite a few have been unsuccessful) where Icardi, on the receiving end of a long ball, has flicked on the ball towards an onrushing Vecino. For a striker who has never had a stable and ever present playmaker or second striker to assist him, this partnership should be welcomed and given a chance to blossom.
We all wanted Icardi to score against Barcelona and continue his excellent UEFA Champions League debut and, finally, he did. 1 shot 1 goal... There is something so classically Icardi about that statistic. He never gave up, and the finish was by no means a tap-in either.
With 26 shots and 8 on target we needed Batmanovic, Spidermanovic, Supermanovic or any other superhero - maybe even Ironmanovic - to step up and so he did. Some world class reactive keeping on his part. The best performance I’ve seen from a keeper in a long time.
Man of the Match
I’ve saved the best for last this week and named our Slovenian goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic as man of the match due to his excellent performance between the sticks against superior opposition.
What do you think? Post your comments below!