Thursday August 6 2020
Dirty Inter can go all the way

The Nerazzurri advance to the quarter-finals after a hard-fought win over Getafe and Vilizar Yakimov thinks they have what it takes to go all the way in the Europa League.

It wasn’t pretty and it definitely wasn’t easy, but Inter finally reached the last eight of a European competition for the first time since 2010-11. Antonio Conte was right to predict that the Nerazzurri would be in for a “dirty game against a tough opponent” and this is exactly what their Round of 16 clash with Getafe proved to be.

La Beneamata started off slowly and allowed the Spaniards too much space in the first minutes and this almost cost them dearly. Samir Handanovic proved to be decisive once again, as the Inter captain made a fantastic save on Nemanja Maksimovic’s header, while his decision to wait until the last possible moment for his dive seemed to affect Jorge Molina’s shot and resulted in Getafe’s penalty miss in the second half.

Inter should be credited for pouncing on their chances and scoring during arguably the opponent’s best stretches of the game. Romelu Lukaku’s strike ended Getafe’s early assault, while Christian Eriksen’s goal practically wrapped up the victory, only six minutes after the Spaniards had missed from the spot.

The ability to soak up pressure and score against the run of play is clearly a sign of maturity, but no one can deny that the Nerazzurri had their bit of luck against Getafe. Although Conte’s troops managed to ride the storm in this game, they should be more careful and avoid such mini-crises against better oppositions.

Without disrespecting Getafe, who regardless of what their latest results may suggest, are a good side, Inter will simply face stronger opponents in the later stages of the competition. The Nerazzurri will most likely play Bayer Leverkusen next, as the Germans hold a comfortable 3-1 advantage from the first leg against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.

Just like Inter, Leverkusen joined the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group, where they were simply outclassed by Juventus and Atletico Madrid. However, Peter Bosz’s men can’t be taken lightly, as they can count on wonderkid Kai Havertz and have much better individual quality than Getafe overall.

However, the ‘dirty’ win against the Spaniards should give Conte and his men enough confidence for whoever comes next, as there were plenty of positives to be taken. Lukaku once again proved to be a difference maker and equalled Alan Shearer’s record of finding the net in eight consecutive Europa/UEFA Cup games, while Eriksen seems to be much more suited for European encounters than domestic ones at this stage.

The Dane, alongside an Alexis Sanchez who is set to remain permanently, can prove to be the hidden aces in Conte’s sleeve, as not even Manchester United can count on such high-profile players coming from the bench.

The Red Devils, alongside the winner of Sevilla-Roma, seem like the strongest contenders for the trophy, but teams such as Wolverhampton, Shakhtar Donetsk and Leverkusen will also fancy their chances.

However, no team can be underestimated at this stage, as the Europa League has often been a competition of upsets. Many times we’ve seen stronger teams eliminated at the hands of the supposed underdogs and unfortunately Italians have often been on the wrong end of that trend. The current one-legged format makes things even trickier, but Conte and his men passed their first post-pandemic European test against Getafe, who were a potential banana skin.

The toughest part for the Nerazzurri is yet to come, but their victory against the Spaniards both showcased some of the areas of improvement, as well as the quality of this Inter squad. It’s now up to Conte and the players to avoid the drops of concentration and intensity that could’ve cost them dearly against Getafe. However, the general feeling is that despite the flaws in their last display, Inter have what it takes to go all the way and win the Europa League.

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Have your say...
we were lucky, we could have been down 2-0 in the first 20 minutes but survived and got by
on the 8th August, 2020 at 12:39am
I hope COnte will now finally start using Eriksen, the way he did during the first several games in Serie A after the re-strat, when he practically changed the formation to 3-4-1-2, with Dane behind the strikers! That was probably the deadliest Inter we saw under Conte! Why did he changed his mind about Eriksen afterwards, is "beyond me", but as the text suggests, he's better adapted for European games than Serie A matches! So, they ought to freshen up before Bayer match, and do their best!
on the 7th August, 2020 at 1:16pm
Will fitness become an issue? Surely conte needs to rotate the squad for the next game, the players have been playing 2 games a week for so long, at least the other leagues got a 2 week break. Sevilla and Getafe both looked fresh and fit - getafe almost scored against inter, sevilla got 2 early goals. Says it all!! Sensi coming back from injury could be a blessing, although his form since injuries has been nothing like the start of the year
on the 7th August, 2020 at 1:55am
Bastoni + Barella look very strong + Inter have a good mix of youth + experience. Still seem up for it too but I think they could've gone up a gear if needed. Especially with the options on bench. I knew that early Handanovic save would be crucial + credit to Getafe for making such a contest out of it. That Cucurella looked decent for them. But Inter now has as good a chance as any to win it!
on the 6th August, 2020 at 10:08pm
Getafe had some good spells + Inter can't start off so sluggish against a Bayer or Man U but Inter deserved to win overall. They could've had a few more on counter when Getafe were pushing + that pen came out of nowhere! It was hand contact but VAR didn't show their striker leaning in + it was so fast even Getafe players didn't appeal. I thought Handanovic would save it anyhow. I feared leaving Erikson out might come back to bite Conte but he + Sanchez both made a difference when they come on!
on the 6th August, 2020 at 9:59pm

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