Shakhtar Donetsk battle to hold Inter Milan as both sides pick up first point


Nicolo Barella of FC Internazionale in action during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter at Metalist Stadium on September 28, 2021 in Kiev, Ukraine.

In a game where profligacy proved a key and recurring theme, Inter Milan were held to a 0-0 draw by Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev, as both sides finally put a point on the Group D table.

The Italian champions were poor throughout; their caution their particular downfall as the rigidity of their 5-3-2 shape didn't allow them any sort of transitional fluidity between phases, and they suffered wave after wave of pressure as the home crowd roared Shakhtar on.

It would be a match with plentiful chances for both sides: Nicolo Barella rattling the crossbar with a curling effort and Edin Dzeko missing a sitter at the back post for the visitors, and Alan Patrick and Dodo denied firmly by Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic between the visiting sticks. IMG-20210928-202052-978

The Ukranian side were the side to take the game by the scruff of the neck, trying to play at breakneck pace to unsettle their Italian opposition, who seemed to prefer a slower tempo focussed on intricate build-up, mixed in with a lack of fluidity owing much to Simone Inzaghi's formational choice.

The Inter head coach wouldn't change formation but personnel with half an hour to go, bringing on his Turkish playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa to add more directness to the visiting frontline.

Yet it would be the hosts that looked the more likely to score: they lacked that focal point up front after a horrific early injury to their new striker Lassina Traore after a collision with Denzel Dumfries, but they were creating chances, carving open an often water-tight Inter defence time after time. IMG-20210928-202030-435

It's back to the drawing board for both sides - neither will be happy with a point - and Shakhtar will really need Real Madrid to have an off-day should they want to have any chance of progressing.

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