Inter ended a three-game run without a home goal in the Champions League as they secured an important 3-1 victory over Sheriff on Tuesday.
With just one point from their opening two matches of 2021-22 and only one victory from their past nine games in the competition, the pressure was on the Nerazzurri to deliver at San Siro.
Edin Dzeko broke the deadlock 34 minutes in, but Sebastien Thill, who scored a stunning winner against Real Madrid on matchday two, drew Sheriff level early in the second half.
Inter responded well, though, Dzeko setting up Arturo Vidal to restore their lead and Stefan de Vrij adding a third to make certain of three points.
Dzeko had failed to beat Dumitru Celeadnic from a simpler position in the middle of the box earlier in the first half, making his breakthrough goal all the more impressive.
After Vidal flicked on Federico Dimarco’s corner, Dzeko arrowed a controlled left-footed volley into the top-right corner through a crowded penalty area.
Sheriff had offered a threat despite leaving Samir Handanovic relatively untested, and few neutrals would have begrudged them their equaliser, Thill curling home a superb free-kick from more than 25 yards out.
Inter’s response was exemplary, though. Only six minutes later, Vidal controlled Dzeko’s pass and slotted beneath Celeadnic at his right-hand post, and Denzel Dumfries spurned a chance for a third soon afterwards.
Compatriot De Vrij showed more precision, though, firing home a low finish on the turn from Dumfries’ header back across goal.
It could have been a more one-sided scoreline by the end, Ivan Perisic crashing a shot off the crossbar and Lautaro Martinez seeing a volley tipped over by Celeadnic.
— Inter (@Inter_en) October 19, 2021
What does it mean? Inter reignite Champions League campaign
Inter’s win put them on four points from three games in Group D, two behind Real Madrid – who were 4-0 winners at Shakhtar Donetsk – and Sheriff.
Should Simone Inzaghi’s men win the reverse fixture against the Moldovan champions, they will be in a strong position to progress to the last 16.
This was the first time Vidal had scored and assisted a goal in a Champions League game since he did so for Juventus against Chelsea in 2012.
While not quite the same colossus he was nine years ago, the Chile midfielder remains a supremely useful and experienced asset.
Shoot to Thill
Thill is fast making a name for himself with spectacular Champions League goals. His stunning winner at the Santiago Bernabeu was followed up here by a magnificent, measured free-kick that was too much for Handanovic to keep out.
Unfortunately for Sheriff, he could not stop Inter breaking through the lines with increasing ease as the game wore on.
On matchday four, Sheriff host Inter on November 3. More immediately, the Nerazzurri must prepare for Juventus in Serie A this Sunday.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!