Simone Inzaghi and Inter passed its Napoli test with (almost) flying colors despite mounting injuries, but there’s no rest for the weary. The Nerazzurri are back in action midweek with a visit from Shakhtar Donetsk to the gates of the San Siro. A win would all but clinch a Champions League Round of 16 berth for the good guys, but the Ukrainian side has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Inter has failed to score against the Hirnyky in three attempts, playing out a scoreless draw in every UCL group stage meeting yet. But that will have to change if Inzaghi’s side is to finally make it to the New Year still alive in Europe’s premier competition. Real Madrid (9 points), Inter (7), and Sheriff (6) are all in the mix for advancement, while Shakhtar lurks in the basement on one point (from its home leg against Inter you may be pained but not surprised to learn) attempting to take on the role of spoiler. With Madrid taking on Sheriff simultaneously, Inter has a golden opportunity to take Group D by the neck.
Shakhtar finds itself joint-top with Dynamo Kyiv of the Ukrainian Premier League after fifteen rounds, but its European journey has fared rather differently. Since that Matchday 2 0-0 draw with Inter, it’s lost two straight to Real Madrid by an aggregate score of 7-1. Even if Donetsk manages to win out in the final two rounds, third is the highest it could possibly finish.
- 0-0 (A), 27/10/20
- 0-0 (H), 9/12/20
- 0-0 (A), 28/9/21
Predicted Starting XIs
Stefan de Vrij is still unavailable for Inter but Ranocchia proved to be a more than capable stand-in against Napoli. Edin Dzeko will hopefully be good to go from the start after a short cameo last weekend, though Barella could do with a rest.
Prediction: Inter 0-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Look, I didn’t want to write that score any more than you wanted to read it. But if Inter is going to make us all suffer through another painful ninety minutes against our Ukrainian “friends”, I at least want to have the minuscule solace of getting the prediction right. Small victories, right?