Inter Milan advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals this week with a second-leg draw against Porto. The draw was enough due to the club’s 1-0 win over Porto in the San Siro in the first leg. This draw was one of those draws I won’t be bouncing my grandkids on my knee telling them about how Inter dealt with an onslaught of the great Porto for 90 minutes and came out on top. Yes, it was still impressive to hold Porto to nothing over two legs, but I don’t feel great about Inter coming out of the tie. So, here are three takeaways from Inter advancing to the last eight of the Champions League.
Scoring is a struggle
Inter scored nine goals in their last nine matches in all competitions, and a third of them came against Udinese. They clearly don’t feel confident in Romelu Lukaku in key battles yet, I’m not sure I blame them based on what I’ve seen, and Edin Dzeko continues to be the guy Simone trusts. Dzeko was solid against Porto, mainly contributing in defense for what it’s worth. The funniest part of this match was watching Dzeko get the ball around midfield and being forced to turn and attempt to burn, at a nice leisurely pace while everyone else caught up with him and the attack fizzled out. It’s not all on Dzeko, the attack was missing anything clinical in the final pass and that won’t work against any team Inter faces off against in the quarterfinals.
The lack of Brozovic hurts
The fact that Inter have somehow maintained second in the league, more so due to incompetence beneath them, and advanced to the quarters of the Champions League without a fully fit Brozovic and Škriniar is impressive. I don’t believe Inter would have played drastically differently in this second leg if Brozo had been there from the start. I do believe that they would have been able to control their possession with more confidence. They often looked rushed on the ball and with only 32% of the possession, they were lucky they were able to afford being that rushed on the ball. They’re going to need a fully fit Brozo in the next round and in key Serie A matches down the stretch.
André Onana MOTM
The Cameroonian keeper was absolutely incredible yesterday. The backline was brilliant, but as anyone knows, when you’re facing an attack for 90 minutes and you can’t keep possession, the best backlines can’t keep absolutely everything from the keeper. As great opportunities managed to trickle toward Onana throughout the match, he was more than up to the challenge. Porto mustered seven shots on target of the 21 they blasted toward Onana’s net. He made multiple great timing calls with punchouts and a few incredible goal-line saves as the ball bounced around the box and off the bar late in the match. A brilliant match from Onana and one he’ll be remembered for.