Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Inter Milan 1-0 Atletico Madrid: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Nerazzurri Claim A Champions League First-Leg Advantage At The San Siro?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 21 Feb 2024

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Putting in what was a professional first-leg display on Tuesday night, Inter Milan clinched a 1-0 Champions League victory against Atletico Madrid.

Although Simone Inzaghi’s men might have been bracing themselves for a frustrating night at the San Siro as they missed a string of clear-cut chances on either side of the half-time break, the Nerazzurri eventually claimed a late winner.

While Marko Arnautovic might have squandered a pair of wonderful opportunities after coming off the bench during the half-time break, the Austrian international tapped home in the final 10 minutes and handed the Italian icons a deserved first-leg advantage.

Failing to muster a single shot on target here and recording just a single victory from any of their previous five appearances across all competitions, Atletico Madrid have the feel of a squad seeking some welcomed stability.

On a night when Inter Milan claimed what could turn out to be a crucial first-leg advantage at the San Siro, we have taken a look at the key talking points.

Inter have their sights set on another Champions League romp

Although Inter Milan might have eventually suffered Champions League final heartbreak last season as they suffered a 1-0 loss against Manchester City, the Italian icons haven’t shown any signs of a hangover this time around.

Continuing to receive a string of plaudits from across the continent this year and firing on all cylinders, Inzaghi’s side certainly find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.

Holding what is a commanding nine-point buffer at the top of the Serie A tabla and tipped as a landslide domestic contender in 2024, the one-time Lazio boss was filled with praise for another eye-catching performance here.

Sat in the driving seat when they travel to Madrid for their reverse showdown next month, Inter Milan have won all of their previous nine straight appearances across all competitions by an aggregate score of 22-4.

Likewise, not suffering a single defeat since opening the New Year and continuing to shine with their clinical performances in the final third, Inzaghi’s men should be regarded as a European dark horse again this season.

Atletico Madrid continue to show issues on the road

While Atletico Madrid might have sprung somewhat of a Champions League upset back in December as they stormed their way to a knockout stage ticket, Diego Simeone’s men always knew that they faced a real challenge here.

Although the Spanish giants might have opened up the 2023/24 campaign with their sight set on mounting a genuine La Liga title charge, Tuesday’s guests have struggled to find any real stability over the past couple of months.

Failing to pick up any momentum over the weekend while on domestic duties as they slumped to a toothless 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sevilla, Simeone’s camp have continued to gain a reputation for their extended issues on the road.

Putting in another lackluster performance here and failing to muster a single shot on target at the San Siro, Atletico have won just a pair of their previous nine away fixtures across all competitions.

Although Los Colchoneros might still be fancying their chances of completing a Champions League comeback when they return to the Spanish capital on March 13th, Simeone’s side do have some mounting pressure on their shoulders.

Arnautovic eventually saves the day

While attacking talisman Lautaro Martinez might have stolen most of Inter Milan’s headlines this season, it was a surprise savior who dragged Inzaghi’s side over the finish line on Tuesday night.

Although Arnautovic might have missed a pair of goal opportunities after coming off the bench during the half-time break, the former West Ham striker certainly made a real impact here.

Unlucky to have been forced to start off among Inzaghi’s substitutes after finding the net during Inter’s 4-0 romp against Salernitana over the weekend, the 34-year-old has impressed since making a shock San Siro return last summer.

Now bagging back-to-back strikes over the past few days, the Austrian international has proved to be a smart swoop from the Nerazzurri.

Previously getting his hands on a Champions League winners medal during his season-long stay with Inter back in 2010, Arnautovic has made it clear that he wants to play a leading role this year.

Match Report

Inter Milan: Sommer, Pavard, De Vrij, Bastoni, Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco, Thuram, Martinez

Subs: Sanchez, Frattesi, Augusto, Arnautovic

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Molina, Witsel, Gimenez, Hermoso, Lino, Niguez, Koke, de Paul, Llorente, Griezmann

Subs: Savic, Morata, Correa, Barrios

Goals: Arnautovic (79’)

Yellow Cards: Inter Milan: Augusto, Frattesi – Atletico Madrid: Koke, Savic, Morata, Hermoso

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: István Kovács

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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