Woodwork Denies Nerazzurri as Inter Tie with Shakhtar

Inter took on Shakhtar Donetsk – the vanquishers of Real Madrid last week – in what looked like an exciting UEFA Champions League affair but the result was in stark contrast to the Italian’s recent Europa League 5-0 thrashing of the Ukrainian side

On week ago, the Nerazzurri choked at the San Siro against Borussia Monchengladbach. They needed the points after being held to a 2-2 draw. In contrast, Luis Castro’s Shakhtar Donetsk came into the fixture with an impressive 2-3 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

With a combined nine goals coming in their previous two outings, the European club tie had all the ingredients for an exciting fixture. However, it did not plan out as many would have hoped. Shakhtar Donetsk were timid in attack and were camped in their half. 

The attacking impetus came from Inter, who created opportunities but could not put them in the Shakhtar net. The 0-0 result was hard on them, but they had only themselves to blame. 

The first half saw the Nerazzurri with the first real opportunity. At the quarter-hour mark, Danilo D’Ambrosio put in a cross, and Lautaro Martinez met it. The Argentine’s header was on target but did not trouble Anatolii Trubin in the Shakhtar goal. A minute later, Romelu Lukaku would try his luck from inside the box, but the young goalkeeper comfortably gathered it. 

Inter’s pressure seemed to have worked and brought them the lead. However, Nicolò Barella’s thunderous effort rattled off the woodwork. The Italy international would test the 19-year-old keeper again, but Trubin anticipated the shot and kept it at bay. 

Shakhtar did not have a solution to the attacking pressure and were resigned to their own half. Both of Inter’s forwards would get more opportunities but could not hit the back of the net. Lautaro would strike wide again, while Lukaku saw the crossbar deny the Italians the lead. The scoreboard read 0-0 at half time, with Inter questioning their inability to trouble the scorers. 

The second half would see more of the same. The best chance in the opening exchanges came from Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatian’s shot was denied by Trubin, who managed to make a save despite being out of position. The ball fell to Martinez in the six-yard box, but the Argentine hotshot managed to send it six yards wide. 

Inter would threaten from the flanks with Arturo Vidal, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Achraf Hakimi, and Ashley Young sending in crosses, but with the whole of the Shakhtar squad defending, nothing would come off it. Appeals for a penalty came when Lukaku went down in the area, yet the referee waved play on. 

The hosts would carve an opportunity of their own as they found Inter napping in defense. Tete would make it to the opposition’s box but had no one in company. The Brazilian would eventually be robbed of the ball as Conte’s men went on the offensive again. 

Despite all their efforts, Inter did not manage to get on the scoreboard. Shakhtar’s resolute low block worked, and the Miners managed to hold the Nerazzurri to a hard-fought draw. 

Antonio Conte would not be pleased with the second successive result, while his player would point to their misfortune in hitting the woodwork twice. Luis Castro will take the result. His charges have blunted the attacks of two European big wigs and are at the top of Group B with four points.



October 27, 2020 – Champions League 2020-21 Group Stage


SHAKHTAR DONETSK (4-2-3-1) Trubin; Dodo, Khocholava (62′ Matvijenko), Bondar, Korniienko; Marcos Antonio, Maycon; Tete, Marlos (88′ Alan Patrick), Solomon; Dentinho (15′ Taison) (Shevchenko, Pyatov, Stepanenko, Vakula, Marquinhos, Vitao, Bolbat, V’Yunnik, Sudakov) Coach: Castro
INTER (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio (80′ Darmian), De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal (79′ Eriksen), Young (85′ Pinamonti); Lukaku, Lautaro (72′ Perisic) (Padelli, Stankovic, Kolarov, Ranocchia, Moretti, Nainggolan, Vezzoni, Bonfanti) Coach: Conte

REFEREE: Kabakov (Bulgaria)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Bastoni, Vidal (I); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 3′