Marcelo Brozovic was the standout performer as Inter Milan beat Sheriff Tiraspol to hand themselves a boost in their efforts to qualify for the Round of 16.

Inter Milan handed themselves a major boost in their efforts to make it to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 by defeating Sheriff Tiraspol on Wednesday night. This is the Nerazzurri‘s second straight win in the competition, the first time they have done so since 2018.

The result could not have come at a better time as the Champions League group stage reaches its business end. Back to back wins has seen Simone Inzaghi’s side climb to the second spot in Group D, two points behind leaders Real Madrid.

Inter began the game brightly, dominating possession in the first half. Despite their best efforts they were unable to find a breakthrough. Lautaro Martinez went the closest when he smashed in a 25-year-old strike into the post.

Inter would enjoy better luck in the second half as they took the chances well. Marcelo Brozovic, who was excellent, opened the scoring with a sublime finish in the 54th minute. It was the Croat’s first-ever Champions League strike.

Brozovic was involved once again and set up Milan Skriniar for Inter’s second. This gave Inter breathing space and helped calm matters on the field. Alexis Sanchez added a third late on to put the result beyond doubt. Sheriff grabbed a late consolation through Adama Traore, but the game had already been decided by then. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how the Inter Milan players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 6/10

The veteran did not have much to do in a controlled performance on the night. He was alert whenever called upon but will be annoyed of missing out on a clean sheet right at the depth.

Milan Skriniar: 6/10

Far from his best, but it was enough to stifle the Sheriff frontline, who appeared to lack the inspiration of their own. Skriniar scored Inter’s second on the night, giving the visitors some breathing space. He has every right to be angry at Joaquin Correa for leaving him high and dry for Sheriff’s late consolation.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The Dutchman led his defence well and was a rock at the back for Inzaghi’s side. He also showed off his distribution skills as Inter built from the back. De Vrij will face bigger challenges in the future, but this was a job well done.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10

There is not much to write about Bastoni, given how comfortable he looked on the night. The Inter back three maintained their shape well and dealt with whatever was thrown at them. Bastoni kept his discipline and ensured the rearguard kept its shape.

Matteo Darmian: 5/10

A forgettable night for the Italian. Darmian struggled to get going in the first half and was largely a passenger in a half which his side dominated—rightly taken off at the break.

Nicolo Barrella: 6/10

Another player who did not get out of first gear and frankly did not have to. He was, however, diligent as usual and always kept moving into spaces. Sheriff uncharacteristically handed him enough leeway to do as he pleased.

Marcelo Brozovic: 8/10

The Croat continues to make a case for himself amidst contract negotiations with Inter. If the night’s performance was anything to go by, the Nerazzurri should ensure they give him what he wants to stay put at San Siro. A near-faultless display by the 28-year-old who scored Inter’s first and assisted their second on the night. A key cog in the midfield as Inter won the battle in the middle of the pitch.

Arturo Vidal: 8/10

If Brazovic is Batman, Vidal might as well have been Robin. The duo worked well in tandem and ensured the visitors held the initiative in midfield. His energy and positive runs caused Sheriff numerous problems. He also grabbed himself an assist for Brozovic’s opener.

Federico Dimarco: 6/10

The Italian held his own at the back and also made several darting runs forward. A solid outing in place of the usually impressive Ivan Perisic. That the Nerazzurri did not miss the Croat is a testament to Dimarco’s performance on the night.

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

The veteran striker did not have his shooting boots on on the night but caused the Sheriff backline several problems. He was presented with several opportunities to score but appeared to lack the clinical edge. He will be disappointed not to have added his name on the goalscorers list.

Lautaro Martinez: 6/10

The Argentine international came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half with an excellent effort that hit the post. He linked up well with Dzeko and was a constant thorn for the Sheriff backline. Could have grabbed himself an assist or two had it not been for Dzeko’s profligacy.

SUBSTITUTES

Denzel Dumfries: 6/10

Dumfries did not set the stage alight. Solid but unspectacular as he continues to settle into life at Inter.

Ivan Perisic: 6/10

The Croatian veteran replaced a tired Dimarco in the second half and performed as we have come to expect from him. Lacked the end product but did not put a toe out of line.

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

The Chilean scored within seconds of coming on and can be proud of an impressive cameo. An in-form Sanchez could prove to be a massive boost for Inter in the future.

Joaquin Correa: 5/10

A far cry from his performance last weekend against Udinese. He struggled to make much of an impact and failed to fulfil his defensive obligations leading up to Sheriff’s consolation.

Andrea Ranocchia: N/A

Replaced Stefan de Vrij for the final lap and gave away the free-kick that Sheriff converted. Not much to write home about.

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