Fresh off a much needed win over Genoa in Serie A action, Inter Milan bounces right back into the Champions League. Antonio Conte’s side will be meeting a familiar face on Matchday 2, Shakhtar Donetsk. Inter swept the Ukrainians off the pitch by a score of 5-0 in last season’s Europa League semifinal, but the odds are we won’t be seeing such a lop-sided scoreline at the Olympiyskiy this Tuesday.
Shakhtar is one of two Ukrainian sides in the Champions League, along with Dynamo Kyiv. It’s Kyiv which currently tops the Ukrainian Premier League with 17 points from 7 rounds of action, and 4 ahead of third placed Donetsk. Shakhtar, though, is the one that’s put in the most surprising performance of the Champions League so far. It raced out to a three goal lead against Real Madrid and managed to leave Spain with a 3-2 victory. Even more impressive is that Shakhtar did so minus 10 first team players thanks to a spate of positive coronavirus tests, with the likes of Taison, Alan, and Junior Moraes all out. That’s forced head coach Luis Castro into naming the same eleven from the Madrid game for a weekend clash with Vorksla. We may see signs of fatigue from the hosts Tuesday, but Inter’s schedule hasn’t been much easier either.
After a draw with Monchengladbach to open its European campaign, a result this week is vital for the Nerazzurri ahead of a Real Madrid double-header. Achraf Hakimi, Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni and Stefan de Vrij were all rested against Genoa, so should be 100% Tuesday. Playing through those players will be important, especially as some key parts like Romelu Lukaku and Arturo Vidal will surely be showing tired legs sooner rather than later.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-1 Inter Milan
Shakhtar will prove a much tougher customer this time around. Inter will be held to a draw in Ukraine. Though the Nerazzurri will win the stats battle, many of the same issues we’ve seen this season will resurface and keep Inter from the three points.