Romelu Lukaku made all the difference as Inter Milan narrowly eked out a 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach to keep their Champions League campaign alive.
Inter Milan were the more dominant of the two sides in the first half, and were deservedly ahead in the 17th minute when Matteo Darmian scored through the legs of Yann Sommer. However, at the stroke of half-time Borussia Monchengladbach pulled the goal back through Alassane Plea to level things up.
Inter Milan continued to push forward post the interval and Romelu Lukaku gave the visitors the lead in the 64th minute once again before doubling his tally and the Nerazzurri’s advantage just nine minutes later. However, Plea also completed his brace shortly after to set up an exciting run-in of the game.
The Frenchman thought he had scored his hat-trick just a few minutes later to level things up for a second time, only to be denied his goal by an offside call. In the end, Inter held on to their narrow advantage to beat Gladbach 3-2 and throw the group wide open in the wake of Real Madrid’s loss to Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the day. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Antonio Conte’s men.
Samir Handanovic: 6.5/10
Not much that Handanovic could have done about either of the goals that Alassane Plea scored. But the Inter Milan captain was crucial in ensuring that the visitors remained in front of Gladbach with a couple of highly important saves. Extremely accurate with the ball at his feet.
Milan Skriniar: 5/10
A difficult evening for Skriniar, who had his fair share of difficulties against Marcus Thuram, particularly when Gladbach were heaping the pressure late on. Did win 4 ground duels while misplacing just 4 passes all game. However, not at his best defensively for the most part.
Stefan de Vrij: 5.5/10
Like Skriniar, de Vrij had a few hairy moments over the course of the game. Plea looked to play off his shoulders and it worked really well a couple of times. Later on in the game, though, he embodied the nervy end to the game for Inter Milan, although some of his clearances were key.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
The best of the Inter Milan backline, although that hardly says much. Bastoni, too, had his shortcomings on the night, although he dealt with the threat of Inter Milan loanee Valentino Lazaro fairly well. Quite wasteful at the ball, however, and had a pass completion rate of just 76 per cent.
Matteo Darmian: 7/10
⚫️ First Champions League goal ✅
🔵 First Inter goal ✅
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 1, 2020
Following a solid display against Sassuolo last weekend, Darmian continued his fine run of form versus Gladbach. The Italian international put Inter ahead with a peach of a finish through the legs of Yann Sommer and generally defended his flank superbly. Set up a fine chance when Inter were on the up and up as well.
Nicolo Barella: 7/10
With two defensive-minded midfielders lined up alongside him, Barella took it upon himself to push Inter forward. The Italian international showed good chemistry with Romelu Lukaku and set up a couple of decent openings. Put a shift in off the ball as well, winning 8 duels.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Back into the side, Brozovic was just the kind of solid customer that Inter Milan needed to build a solid base on in the game. The Croat overpowered Lars Stindl and kept things tight in the middle of the park. Pulled the strings from midfield effortlessly as well and even played in 2 key passes.
Roberto Gagliardini: 7/10
Gagliardini also made an impression with the ball at his feet, providing the assist for Darmian’s goal and also setting up another chance. Did not see a lot of the ball otherwise and looked to keep Florian Neuhaus out of the game for stretched periods. Won 8 duels, completed 3 tackles and 2 interceptions in addition to making 2 clearances. Solid display.
Ashley Young: 5/10
Not the best of outings for the veteran Englishman. Young struggled against Stefan Lainer and Lazaro, with Bastoni often bailing him out. His crosses hardly carried a threat either and he fluffed his lines when he had a brilliant chance to put the game to bed, missing the open net from a yard out.
Romelu Lukaku: 9/10
Romelu Lukaku’s game by numbers vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach:
5 attempted take-ons
4 successful take-ons
3 chances created
A complete CF performance. 👊 pic.twitter.com/rw2uke2eo1
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 1, 2020
The game-changer for Inter Milan. Lukaku was heavily involved when Inter first grabbed the lead, linking up with Gagliardini before Darmian scored. The Belgian then came up clutch in the second half with two superb finishes to essentially grab all three points for Inter Milan. Even played 3 key passes. Lukaku just cannot stop scoring and is the reason Inter remain in the Champions League.
Lautaro Martinez: 6/10
While Lukaku enjoyed a fantastic all-round game, Martinez was not quite at his best on Tuesday against Gladbach. The Argentine hardly saw the ball, although he did set up a half-chance for strike partner Lukaku. Came close to scoring himself, only to hit the woodwork.
Achraf Hakimi: 6/10
On for Darmian, Hakimi’s easing-in process continued against Gladbach and he made an early impact when he provided the assist to Lukaku. Did not enjoy the best of outings on the defensive front, however.
Alexis Sanchez: 5/10
On for Martinez, Sanchez typically linked up well with Lukaku. However, he cheaply gave the ball away when Plea scored the second goal for Gladbach.
Ivan Perisic: N/A
A late introduction, Perisic helped see the game out.