While the Champions League might have opened up with a flurry of goals from across Europe, Real Madrid had to leave it late as they snatched a last-gasp winner at the San Siro on Wednesday night.
In what appeared on paper to be a mouth-watering affair, Inter Milan suffered late heartbreak in front of a vocal home support as second-half substitute Rodrygo grabbed a 90th-minute strike.
Managing to open their European adventure with what could turn out to be a crucial 1-0 victory on foreign soil, we have taken a look at the major talking points after what was a largely cagey night in Milan.
Subs save the day for Ancelotti
Managing to gain some perfect momentum over the weekend as they landed an action-packed 5-2 win against Celta Vigo on home soil, it appeared that Real Madrid made the trip out to Milan with their confidence at a real high.
However, despite finding an immediate boost since bringing back former manager Carlo Ancelotti over the summer, Los Blancos really failed to find their feet during the first-half and will know they were lucky to have entered the break not trailing.
Despite failing to muster a single shot on target throughout the opening 45, Ancelotti’s second-half subs certainly made the impact that he would have been hoping for.
Dominating large spells of the second-half and really finding their feet, the arrival of both Rodrygo and Eduardo Camavinga were a real turning point as the former AC Milan boss marked his San Siro return with a last-gasp winner.
Picking up a crucial clean sheet after going public with his displeasure at Madrid’s recent defending, Camavinga’s beautiful volleyed pass was smashed home by Rodrygo seconds before heading into injury-time.
Filled with praise for his side’s eye-catching second-half resurge and hardly giving Inter a sniff, Ancelotti certainly managed to get his dream return to Milan.
Tale of two halves for Inter
Watching Head Coach Antonio Conte leave the San Siro over the summer after guiding Inter to their first Serie A crown in a decade, many wondered how the Nerazzurri would react under new boss Simone Inzaghi.
However, despite having to settle for a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria when returning from the international break last weekend, the defending Italian champions were enjoying an early-season bounce.
Opening Wednesday’s meeting with some believing that they could lay down a Champions League marker, the former Lazio boss saw his side really impress throughout the first-half, despite failing to find the net.
With both Lautaro Martínez and summer arrival Edin Dzeko forcing Thibaut Courtois into a pair of point-blank saves, it was noticeable that Inter were missing the recently departed Romelu Lukaku.
Despite feeling that they should have taken a lead heading into the interval, the midweek hosts drastically fell off the boil throughout the second 45 and failed to match their opening intensity.
Now with just a single Champions League victory at the San Siro in their last eight attempts, Inzaghi will know that his side has no time to feel sorry for themselves if they’re to avoid a shock drop down to the Europa League once again.
What’s next for both?
Although Real Madrid might still be priced as high as 18/1 with Betfair to reclaim their Champions League crown this season, there is no doubt that Los Blancos would have been boosted by their last-gasp winner on foreign soil.
With many from across Europe tipping Ancelotti’s side as now a clear leader in the chase to book a spot in the knockout stage, the former Spanish champions will be next seen on La Liga action this weekend as they make the trip to Valencia on Sunday.
Smelling a golden chance to make it back-to-back Champions League victories in a fortnight when they host the European top-flight debutants, Wednesday’s victory could turn out to be a crucial one for Madrid.
On the flip side, while the midweek hosts might have been left heartbroken on home soil, the Italian giants should certainly still fancy their chances of finding an automatic route out of Group D.
With Moldovan Champions League debutants Sheriff Tiraspol shocking Shakhtar thanks to a 2-0 win earlier in the day, the Nerazzurri will be next seen on European duties when they make the trip out to Ukraine in a fortnight.
Inter Milan: Handanović (5), Škriniar (7.5), De Vrij (6.5), Bastoni (6.5), Darmian (7), Barella (6), Brozović (6.5), Çalhanoğlu (6), Perisic (5.5), Dzeko (6), Martínez (7)
Subs: Dimarco (5), Dumfries (4), Vidal (4.5), Correra (4), Vecino (N/A)
Real Madrid: Courtois (9), Carvajal (6.5), Nacho (7), Militão (6), Alaba (6.5), Valverde (7), Modric (6.5), Casemiro (7), Vázquez (5), Benzema (4), Vinícius Júnior (6)
Subs: Rodrygo (8), Camavinga (7), Asensio (N/A)
Yellow Cards: Inter Milan: Martínez – Real Madrid: Alaba
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Daniel Siebert
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