Inter vs Shakhtar 2-0: Nerazzurri Get Closer to Round of 16

The news here is that the fourth Inter vs. Shakthar game in the last two seasons did not end in a goalless draw. This new chapter of the endless Inter vs. Shakhtar saga saw the Nerazzurri capture a refreshing 2-0 win, courtesy of an Edin Dzeko brace.

Inter are thus very close to making their first appearance in the Champions League knockout stage after a 10-year absence. Only in the unlikely event of another Sheriff Tiraspol win over Real Madrid tonight will the Nerazzurri have to continue battling for a spot in the Round of 16 in the last matchday of Group F. 

But, for now, all is good for Simone Inzaghi and his band, who followed up from their thrilling win over Napoli on Sunday with another convincing performance at the San Siro.

Inzaghi confirmed the eleven men who beat Napoli in his lineup, with veteran Andrea Ranocchia continuing to replace the injured Stephan De Vrij in the middle of the defense. Among the Shakhtar lines, Roberto De Zerbi couldn’t count on Burkinabé forward Lassina Traoré. The Italian coach adopted his tested 4-2-3-1 setup where the lone striker was Fernando – one of the eight Brazilian players in the roster of Shakhtar.

Shakhtar in Control but Inter Closer to Scoring 

Inter started strong but their efforts came to no avail. On 11 minutes, Nicolò Barella had a good chance from close range but slipped in an attempt to shot and sent the ball crashing into the San Siro stands.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side resorted to ball possession in an attempt to prevent the Nerazzurri from doing their thing but almost never came to threaten Samir Handanovic. In the only occasion when the Slovenian goalkeeper was called to action, the offside flag was already up.

Inter regained control in the middle of the first period as Ranocchia headed the ball towards the goal from a corner kick, missing the target by just a few inches. Immediately after, Ivan Perisic found the back of the net with a clinical shot but his winning effort was disallowed as Matteo Darmian was caught offside in the build-up. The next one to try was Dzeko, who saw his shot saved by Anatoliy Trubin.

Despite Shakhtar continuing to enjoy some long possession spells, Inter were the only dangerous side. On 36 minutes, Barella served Lautaro Martinez with a sharp filtering pass. The Argentine, though, lost the tempo and was blocked by Trubin.

At half time, neither side had managed to break the deadlock but the Nerazzurri were surely the most proactive ones.

Dzeko and Perisic Win It for Inter

Lautaro saw a beautiful winning effort of his cancelled as he was caught pushing his opponent while preparing to receive a cross from Perisic in the box. But, since three is a charm, Inter finally found the back of the net on the one-hour mark.

Inter’s opener – which interrupted a three-game goalless streak in Inter vs Shakhtar matches – was the consequence of a beautiful team effort on the part of the Nerazzurri. Perisic’s run on the left flank was devastating and ended with a brilliant cross in the middle of the box, where the ball was headed towards Darmian.

The right winger’s conclusion was pushed back by the Ukrainian (Brazilian?) defense, but Dzeko’s subsequent conclusion received no answer from Shakhtar. 

Once the stalemate was broken, it was easy for Inzaghi’s boys to wrap the game in their favor. Their second goal was again courtesy of Dzeko, though it was Perisic to take most of the credit with another unstoppable dash along the left flank. The Croatian’s cross only asked to be headed home from point-blank range and Dzeko promptly obliged.

Shakhtar had a chance to reduce the gap but Dodo’s good intentions crashed against Handanovic’s right post. Inzaghi, on the other hand, gave some playing time to his second lines and came close to make it three but Federico Dimarco and Stefano Sensi’s cooperative effort was defused by the Ukraininan goalkeeper.

It ended “only” 2-0 but Inter could be more than happy with it.  

What’s Next for Inter and Shakhtar

It was a much needed win for the Nerazzurri, who are close to the Champions League Round of 16 some ten years after their last appearance. Their next test is a relatively easy away game at Venezia on Saturday night, which can be a good chance for them to maintain contact with the Serie A leading duo Milan / Napoli.

Roberto De Zerbi did what he could but his Shakhtar couldn’t go further than some sterile ball possession. With their feeble chances of making it at least to the Europa League now also gone, they can fully concentrate on the Ukrainian Super League in an attempt to win another round of their eternal battle with Dynamo Kyiv.



November 24, 2021 – Champions League 2021-2022 Group B

SCORERS: 61′ Dzeko, 67′ Dzeko

INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Darmian (79′ D’Ambrosio), Barella (78′ Vidal), Brozovic, Calhanoglu (86′ Sensi), Perisic (86′ Dimarco); Lautaro Martinez (68′ Correa), Dzeko (Cordaz, Radu, Dumfries, Kolarov, Gagliardini, Vecino) Coach: S. Inzaghi
SHAKHTAR DONETSK (4-2-3-1): Trubin; Dodo, Vitao, Marlon Santos, Matvyenko; Maycon, Stepanenko (46′ Marcos Antonio); Tete (80′ Marlos), Pedrinho (73′ Bondarenko), Solomon; Fernando (80′ Mudryk) (Pyatov, Shevchenko, Bondar, Konoplia, Korniienko, Krivtsov, Konoplyanka, Sikan) Coach: De Zerbi

REFEREE: Hategan (Romania)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Vitao (S); Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 3′