Inter Milan were once again held to a goalless draw by Shakhtar Donetsk despite impactful cameos from Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen.
Inter Milan bowed out of Europe following yet another frustrating goalless draw with Shakhtar Donetsk at San Siro, in their final group game of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.
The Serie A giants needed a win heading into this game while also requiring Real Madrid to beat Borussia Monchengladbach in the other game. While the record European champions certainly did their job, Antonio Conte’s men were far from perfect as they struggled to break the shackles of the Shakhtar backline for a sustained period.
Inter Milan naturally dominated possession, but clear cut chances came few and far between. And to their misfortune, it appeared as if the Ukrainians were more than happy with a third-place finish as they barely pushed forward for the winner. As a result, they sat deep, inviting pressure from the opposition, who were simply not clinical enough.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Inter Milan players in their disappointing draw with Shakhtar Donetsk this Wednesday night.
Samir Handanovic: 7/10
Samir Handanovic was tested early with a long-range effort from a Shakhtar Donetsk player. But the Inter ‘keeper was seriously called into action around the hour mark when he denied Tete’s left-footed strike. It was an excellent save that kept his team in the contest while handing the Bosnian a well-deserved clean sheet.
Milan Skriniar: 6.5/10
Starting at the right-hand side of the defence, Milan Skriniar almost operated as a midfielder. He often camped himself in the opposition half, offering an additional passing option to the likes of Nicolo Barella and Achraf Hakimi. Their clever passing triangle helped Inter sustain an early pressure on Shakhtar.
Stefan de Vrij: 6.5/10
Stefan de Vrij was the only real Inter defender who sat deep and operated as a centre-back. The Dutchman was called into action a few times and he didn’t disappoint either, preventing Shakhtar from causing any real problems going forward.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
Much like Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni also camped himself in the opposition half. He acted as a passing option for Roberto Gagliardini and Ashley Young, but it was precision long balls that made life difficult for the Shakhtar Donetsk defenders. Defensively, the Italian was solid enough, though he did get caught on the break a couple of times.
Only a matter of time before Alessandro Bastoni is as highly regarded as the likes of De Ligt, Kounde, Konate and other young CB’s.
Calm and composed on the ball, possesses an excellent passing range, and a very smart defender – both positionally and in the tackle. 21 years old. pic.twitter.com/7Z6FYyYDGL
— Top Bins Talk (@TopBinsTalk) December 9, 2020
Achraf Hakimi: 5/10
Following an impactful performance against Bologna, expectations were high from Achraf Hakimi as he started ahead of Matteo Darmian. Unfortunately, the Moroccan international struggled to provide much apart from some simple link-up play with Barella during the first hour of the game. The penetration was lacking.
Nicolo Barella: 5/10
Nicolo Barella had an eventful first half, combining with the likes of Hakimi and Skriniar. He did offer ball-progression but his task was made easier by Shakhtar willing to defend deep and allow Inter Milan to dominate possession. It ultimately wasn’t really an impactful performance from the midfielder.
Marcelo Brozovic: 6/10
Marcelo Brozovic was a calming presence in the Inter midfield for the most of the game. He was flawless with his passing, making sure the opposition doesn’t find any weaknesses from which they can counter.
Roberto Gagliardini: 5/10
Gagliardini played a similar role as Barella on the opposite flank, looking to create chances for Inter through link-up. The midfielder, unfortunately, had to resort to lofted balls over the top, though he did win a couple of balls in midfield, showcasing impressive tenacity.
Ashley Young: 6/10
Ashley Young was industrious on the left flank, as ever, marauding up and down the pitch. The 35-year-old tried to create things out wide but that final ball was lacking, though the ex-Manchester United star does deserve credit for remaining strong defensively. He eventually made way for Ivan Perisic midway through the second half, in an attacking move by Antonio Conte.
Romelu Lukaku: 6.5/10
Romelu Lukaku was by far the most industrious attacker for Inter Milan in this encounter. He was willing to work hard for his team, notably making runs on the flanks and trying to breach the Shakhtar backline. He even created a couple of excellent opportunities but his performance was marred by him blocking Alexis Sanchez’s effort during the dying embers of the match.
— The Charity Stripe (@_CharityStripe_) December 9, 2020
Lautaro Martinez: 5/10
Lautaro Martinez simply didn’t provide anything to the table, often lacking inventiveness and dynamism. The Argentine should have done a lot better in putting away an early chance created by Lukaku in the first half but was largely anonymous after the restart. One could argue that Conte should have brought Sanchez much earlier.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
Ivan Perisic replaced the tiring Young midway through the second half to provide more attacking vigour to the Inter Milan side. The Croat did enjoy a decent game on the flanks but the penetration was lacking.
Alexis Sanchez: 7.5/10
Sanchez came on for Gagliardini during the final phase of the game and made a huge impact. Although he was culpable for failing to make the most out of D’Ambrosio’s cross, the Chilean did an excellent job to meet Christian Eriksen’s ball. He was unlucky not to score as his goalbound effort was blocked by his own teammate in Lukaku.
Christian Eriksen: 7.5/10
Eriksen came on for Martinez with just five minutes remaining on the clock but made more impact than any of the starting midfielders for Inter. He was a menace from set-pieces and notably created a chance for Sanchez that was blocked by Lukaku.
Danilo D’Ambrosio: N/A
A late replacement for Bastoni. Provided an excellent cross that led to a chance for Sanchez but wasn’t involved enough to warrant a rating.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
A late replacement for Hakimi. Wasn’t involved enough to warrant a rating.