MILAN – Our Coach made it clear at the end of the match: this draw was worlds apart from last year’s stalemate against Slavia Prague on matchday one in the Champions League. Indeed, the only similarity between the two games is the fact that Inter rescued a draw in the final stages, with Lukaku taking centre stage this time around. While the performance in September 2019 was below par, yesterday’s display was a commanding one: despite suffering from a number of absences, the Nerazzurri racked up chances and gave very little away. That said, it’s true that they only got a draw out of the game, a fact that becomes only more perplexing when you read the stats. Rose’s Borussia side, who were helped along the way by some careless Nerazzurri defending, had two shots on target and scored two goals.
Inter’s dominance is also reflected in the amount of possession they had (57%), the number of shots they took (17 compared to six), their pass completion rate (86% compared to 78%) and the number of tackles they won (87.5% compared 57%). However, Conte’s men didn’t have a lot of fortune. The post is still shaking from Lautaro's thunderous volley, a moment that perhaps best reflected the night as a whole: Inter’s desire to put together threatening moves, Darmian’s excellent performance down the right flank, the hunger and class displayed by our players, that missing bit of luck. Just one rhyme away from the perfect poem.
As has already been mentioned, Darmian was a key performer for Inter on the night. Just a few hours before kick-off, Conte learned that he’d be without Hakimi’s services, but the former Manchester United and Parma player was able to seamlessly slot into the side: he made runs, he took shots (four in fact) and he played a role in both of Inter’s goals. He didn’t just occupy the wing, he often made his way into the box in a timely fashion, posing a real threat in the process.
On the other flank, Perisic was also involved, particularly in the first half. The Nerazzurri needed these two outlets as they looked to break down a compact and well-drilled side. Eriksen (four shots) did his best to tip the balance in Inter’s favour with a lively display in the opening period. Lukaku, meanwhile, was a real point of reference in attack, getting involved in 14 duels.
One strange aspect is the fact that Vidal was caught out for Borussia’s two goals despite being one of Inter’s best performers from a statistical point of view: the Chilean won 62% of the 21 duels he was involved in, made seven tackles and six interceptions, and regained possession on nine occasions. But everyone made a contribution, including Kolarov, whose corner led to the equaliser and who almost won it with a free kick deep into added time. And then there was Bastoni, who, on his return to action, flicked on the aforementioned corner for a vital late assist.