The Top 5 Stories from the Champions League Week: Inter Rise, Milan Fall

Two wins, two losses. This was the final outcome for Italian clubs in the third matchday of the Champions League Group Stage, as Juventus and Inter escaped with wins, while Atalanta and Milan succumbed to defeats. So let’s check out the Top 5 Stories from Europe’s elite club competition during the midweek.

A Win at Last

When Sebastian Thill scored a brilliant freekick to equalize the scoring, the Giuseppe Meazza crowds were left stunned, as fears of a déjà vu scenery suddenly resurfaced. Surely it wouldn’t be the first time that Inter drop points in a European game that they absolutely need to win.

“But not this time” the Nerazzurri appeared to be saying as they roared back in style, securing a 3-1 win at the expense of Sheriff – the same tiny Moldovan side that shocked the world by beating Real Madrid at the Bernanbeu just a few weeks ago.

For the Italian champions, this is a significant step forward, putting themselves on the win column in their Champions League group and edging closer to the two spots.

However, the East European side is still ahead of Inter, and the Sheriff surely won’t go down without a fight.

Old School Wins

Elsewhere in the group, Shakhtar Donetsk hosted Real Madrid. While we mostly tend to focus on Italian clubs, two managers from the Peninsula battling in a Champions League encounter is enough to grab our attention.

The Ukrainians are led by the young Roberto De Zerbi, while Los Blancos have the enormously experienced Carlo Ancelotti at the helm.

As the title suggests, the old school resoundingly won the day, as the Spaniards picked their opponents apart in a 5-0 demolition job.

While it’s a bit unfair to for De Zerbi who had to face a side that featured the remarkable trio of Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, his players completely failed to contain Los Merengues’ attacking power.

Time to Set Priorities

Unfortunately for Milan, their long-awaited return to the Champions League is turning into an unpleasant experience.

Surely this is all a part of Stefano Pioli’s rebuilding process which can take several years to accomplish, but the proud Rossoneri will find it hard to swallow the fact that they remain without a single point after three matches.

While the Italians may have once again been the victims of a refereeing error against Porto, they simply couldn’t replicate the same encouraging performances they displayed in their first two Champions League fixtures against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.

The Diavolo aren’t officially eliminated yet, but the writing is on the wall. Pioli’s men are now producing solid domestic results while struggling to pass through the Group Stages – Which reminds us of another club from Milano that managed to lift the Scudetto title not so long ago.

Is it time to focus on the Serie A title race?

Atalanta Still Lack Experience

In the last two seasons, Atalanta have been the undisputed best Italian club in the Champions League, and nothing suggests that it won’t be the same case this campaign as well.

But their second half collapse at Old Trafford served as a reminder on the vast importance of experience in Europe’s elite competition.

This is only the Oribici’s third UCL appearance, and therefore, watching them waste a two-goal lead against one of the greatest clubs in the sport’s history (led by the competition’s all-time scorer) shouldn’t be considered a shocking sight.

Allegri’s Juve

The franchise is back. For better or worse, we’re now beginning to see the Juventus that we all either love or hate.

In the last four matches in all competitions, the Bianconeri managed to grab four 1-0 wins. This is far from being a coincidence, but the work of one of the best pragmatic managers in the world.

Could Massimiliano Allegri’s side produce more attractive football in the near future? Perhaps. But for now, the Livorno native will be more than happy to collect the points while frustrating the opponents and neutrals alike.

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