Inter Milan and Real Madrid, which were considered to be group favourites, have been struggling in their European campaign this season. Both of the European giants had a shockingly bad start in their group and needed all three points last night to kickstart their campaign.
The two group favourites met at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, with injury-hit squads.
Real Madrid injury list consists of Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Odriozola and Martin Odegaard. Eder Militao missed the match as well after testing positive for Covid-19.
Inter Milan had their injuries to worry about at the other end with Matias Vecino, Milan Skriniar, Stefano Sensi and Romelu Lukaku out.
Real Madrid’s lead
The game started off just as it promised. Real Madrid created a few early chances with Marco Asensio coming close to scoring the opener. Fede Valverde missed an opportunity as well when he tried to volley the ball into the net, but failed.
Inter Milan attacked the vulnerable high backline set by Real Madrid. They had two major chances at the beginning of the match, with Barella hitting the post in one.
The first goal came through Inter Milan’s error when, former Real Madrid wing-back, Achraf Hakimi’s sloppy pass to the goalkeeper was intercepted by Karim Benzema, who capitalized the chance and gave Los Blancos their lead.
The second goal of the game came through a set-piece when Sergio Ramos’s 100th goal in Real Madrid colours turned it into 2-0.
Inter Milan’s comeback
Inter Milan hit Real Madrid right back when Martinez scored Inter’s first. Martinez scored through a beautiful backheel pass by Nico Barella. Martinez didn’t have enough time for a first-touch and scored with a first-time finish and gave Inter Milan some breathing room.
The goal was a perfect example of how Sergio Ramos’ decisions can sometimes become a vulnerability for Real Madrid.
Second half drama
Real Madrid dominated the first half but Inter Milan came back a lot stronger in the second. Inter looked more lively and fresh, whereas Real Madrid were tired and sloppy. Inter increased their pressing and Real Madrid couldn’t handle it. There were a few glimpses where they seemed to get better but poor passing from Casemiro and Benzema came in their way.
Perisic squared the scoreline with an assist from Martinez and Inter looked like the better team. Inter created a lot more chances in the second half but failed to capitalize on any of them. Real Madrid’s defence was falling apart and Inter needed someone to finish off the game but nobody could step up to the task.
Zidane pulled out Asensio and Hazard and brought in the Brazilian duo. Rodrygo and Vinicius were brought in to bring speed and energy into the game.
The Italian giants were soon punished for missing their chances as Rodrygo won the game for Madrid at the 80th minute with a shot in the top corner.
The missing piece of the puzzle
It’s safe to say that Inter missed Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker has proved himself in Italy and Europe after moving away from Manchester. Inter looked more lively in the second half and created a lot more chances but they missed Lukaku’s presence in the box.
Lukaku is out with a thigh injury and Antonio Conte will surely hope he’s able to join the squad before the second tie at San Siro on November 25th.
On Madrid’s side, Carvajal’s absence was apparent as the makeshift right-back Lucas Vazquez didn’t offer much defensively.
Real Madrid’s number 7
Eden Hazard showed a glimpse of his past self in a win against Huesca last week but failed to impact last night’s game.
Real Madrid need Hazard to showcase his talent and creativity on the field. Until he manages to bring out his best, Madrid will continue to look like a broken side.
A tie filled with panic
Real Madrid were at the bottom of the group before the match and Inter Milan had failed to win their first two matches. Conte and Zidane needed to win.
Zidane’s side looked in control and it appeared their bad spell in the European stage came to an end when Sergio Ramos scored the second. But things are never simple at the Madrid camp these days. Inter came back strong and Madrid just managed to snatch the match away from Conte.
Real Madrid have never failed to qualify for the knockout stages in the Champions League in their history and they will hope to keep up that streak but Group B is turning out to be a wildcard.