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Saturday August 15 2020
Inter must start strong with Shakhtar

The Nerazzurri will need to start strong when in order to eliminate a dangerous Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League semi-final, warns Vilizar Yakimov.

It’s been more than eight months since Shakhtar Donetsk’s 3-0 loss against Atalanta in the deciding Champions League clash that saw the Ukrainians drop into the Europa League. Now Luis Castro’s men are preparing for another Nerazzurri battle, as their semi-final against Inter gives Shakhtar the chance to avenge the heavy Atalanta defeat.

Although the Ukrainians cannot be taken lightly, probably every Inter fan was happy when it became clear that La Beneamata’s next opponent in the Europa League would not be Manchester United or Sevilla. Shakhtar simply do not possess the individual quality of the Premier League giants, while nobody comes even close to Sevilla’s mojo in the competition.

However, Inter must be extremely careful, as Shakhtar are one of those teams that can beat anyone on the day and this is exactly what their semi-final will be, a one-off. It will be Inter’s third one-legged tie in the Europa League since the beginning of August, which should give them a slight advantage over Shakhtar, who played only Basel in this format.

The 4-1 victory against the Swiss vice-champions was arguably the perfect example of Shakhtar’s attacking brilliance, as the Brazilian flair of the likes of Marlos, Taison, Alan Patrick, Marcos Antonio and Junior Moraes is undoubtedly the Ukrainians’ strongest weapon. The experience of Marlos and Taison on the wings is most often what makes the difference, as the creativity of both veterans is what their top goalscorer Junior Moraes feeds off.

Moraes scored twice against Basel, which increased his tally of the season to 26 goals in all competitions, but the truth is anyone in the Shakhtar attack is capable of making the difference. Taison has netted 11 times, Marlos 14 and Patrick nine, so the Nerazzurri backline cannot afford to lose focus even for a minute.

Another strong side of this Shakhtar team is their ability to ride out the storm and stay in the game even when they are outplayed by the opposition. There were similar stretches in the Basel game during which the Swiss side created plenty of troubles for Shakhtar, but Luis Castro’s men didn’t concede a goal and then unleashed their attack, which resulted in four goals in quick succession. Shakhtar only conceded once at the end of the game when they had a 4-0 lead and had already wrapped up their qualification for the next stage.

The games against Atalanta can also give us a hint of how sneaky this Shakhtar team can be, as La Dea completely dominated in their first game played at San Siro, but failed to extend their early 1-0 lead. This eventually allowed Shakhtar to come back and score two late goals to secure an impressive 2-1 victory against Gian Piero Gasperini’s men.

Atalanta’s 3-0 win over the Ukrainians in the final game of their Champions League group, however, shows how Inter can should approach this. Unlike the first meeting, La Dea managed to increase their lead a few minutes after the opener. This simply didn’t give Shakhtar the chance to go back into the game and allowed Atalanta to fully impose their style and eventually score a third goal.

Considering that earlier in the season, Inter’s intensity and quality was dropping significantly in the second half with more points fumbled from leading situations than any other Serie A side, Antonio Conte’s men should rely on a strong start against Shakhtar. This is something that worked for Inter in their previous Europa League clashes, as five of their last six goals in the competition were scored in the first half. La Beneamata won all of those games, as neither Ludogorets, Getafe, nor Bayer Leverkusen were able to comeback after trailing at the break against Inter.

On the other hand Shakhtar rarely manage to get back into games when they trail, so Inter’s attacking mechanisms and Romelu Lukaku’s presence will be crucial once again. However, what’s even more important for Inter’s chances is a strong start that will give them control of the game and the opportunity to once again participate in a European final for the first time since their Treble-winning campaign in 2010.

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Have your say...
@Anonymous

Never mind, you're obviously a troll

Seeing as you're too cowardly to answer that question you were asked, here's more stats for you:

Last 10 years in CL:

INTER: Played 30, Won 12, Drew 5, Lost 13 (never beyond QF, which was reached only once)

JUVE: Played 78, Won 41, Drew 20, Lost 17

So Juve's record is far, far superior record to Inter

Now we need an Inter final win to help ease the shame of no EL title in 21 years from failing clubs like Juve, Inter, Milan, and all the rest
on the 18th August, 2020 at 1:04am
when last time inter won UCL they dominating series a for 5 years. but what juventus doing on the span 10 years?
mind you inter ONE step aways winning european league after last night 5-0. once again inter save italian football face on European stages. for 10 years what juve at best doing is shameful display on european football. they need stop buying expensive player instead paying referee to win ucl maybe
on the 18th August, 2020 at 12:11am
lol you admitted i answer his question and yet that @FERBAN didnt answer my question either. how for 10 years dominating league but failed winning ONCE ucl? spending tranfer market more than even bayern munich, look how they ran rampant againts barca the other night with less squad market values.
juventus fans always delusional defending their team.
on the 18th August, 2020 at 12:06am
@ Anonymous

Yes, but you still didn't answer his/her question directly at all lol

quit pretending you did ;)

but don't worry - I answered it for you. Thank me later.
on the 17th August, 2020 at 10:32pm
like i said i answered it already. i said inter paid the price not having stability with changing ownership 3x, no wonder they wont do well on european football. while juventus with good structure and 10 straight win series a, with good planing buying player every year yet they can not win cl. even sacking allegri, which imo better coach than sarri or pirlo(?). they obsession to winning cl is a joke, and not paying off, instead making embarrassment repeatedly.
on the 17th August, 2020 at 5:32pm
My worry now is there has been so much talk in England and Italy about a Man United v Inter final, with Man United being knocked, it could very well end up being a Sevilla v Shakthar. For Italy's sake, let's hope this is not the case.
on the 17th August, 2020 at 5:08pm
@ANONYMOUS

if your too cowardly to answer the question straight without hiding behind excuses/juventus, here's Inter's record in Europe in the last decade
11: CL QF
12: CL L16
13: EL L16
14: failed to qualify
15: EL L16
16: failed to qualify
17: EL, bottom of group
18: failed to qualify
19: CL, out at group stage/EL L16
20: CL, out at group stage/EL semi (so far)

Juve are bad, but they're nowhere near this shambolic lol. Disgraceful "effort" by Inter over the last decade, really embarrassing
on the 17th August, 2020 at 1:40pm
@Anonymous

Please, grow up, would you?

I'm hoping Inter win this thing to bring some credibility to this league. No, I don't follow Juve, but like I said, loser fans from other clubs CONSTANTLY talk about them.

Not sure if I'll have to repeat all of this to you again. Hopefully not.

As for my question, you didn't answer it.

Maybe I have to write that again too:

Q:Which season between 10-11 and 19-20 did Inter not mess up somewhere along the line when in Europe?

Now ... answer, please.
on the 17th August, 2020 at 12:14pm
@FERBAN
you funny guy. i answer your question, READ properly, yet you cant answer my question about how juventus embarrassed italian football for 10 years straight.
you claim you are not juventus fans yet you defended them continuously. maybe you embarrassed to become juventus fans too? No wonder, who not LOL
on the 17th August, 2020 at 1:57am
@Anonymous

Lol, I knew you couldn't answer without bringing up Juventus. So predictable.

Blame/put down Juve is the default argument for every loser. I don't even support them.

Now, what's the answer to my question about Inter that you avoided so clumsily?
on the 16th August, 2020 at 11:11pm
@FERBAN
Then again. juventus always has stable structure for this 10 years. they never change ownership. always has great budget planning buying player and twice on final UCL even bought ronaldo and YET cannot won it. how is that not embarrassment to italian footbal? atl.madrid half juventus budget twice on final cannot won it too but they stick with their project and coach. while juventus obsession with spending and changing coach cannot justify their achievement on UCL. really embarrassing
on the 16th August, 2020 at 3:11pm
@Annonymous

Maybe read what I wrote again before replying. I said Inter have embarrassed Serie A for the last 10 years, then you say everything BAR what I said in my comment lol

Without bring Juve into it like you desperately want to do, tell me when Inter haven't embarrassed Serie A in the last 10 seasons when in Europe.

Which season between 10-11 and 19-20 did they not mess up somewhere along the line?
on the 16th August, 2020 at 11:52am
@Luca... great comments, both of them, you have my support.
on the 15th August, 2020 at 8:47pm
@FERBAN

Juve have done nothing BUT embarrass Serie A in Europe for over TWO decades!

Remember getting knocked out of the CL by EVERY team in last TWO decades?

Here, I corrected for you :)
on the 15th August, 2020 at 8:45pm
Pointless article. When you expect a sports journalist to come up with concrete gameplans and strategies, all you get is generalities. Of course Inter wants to score early, score as many as possible, not concede blah blah blah. It would have been great to highlight strengths/ weaknesses of Shakhtar and what Inter strategy would be best to exploit them. Or what Inter players have best chance of exploiting the opponent and must play
on the 15th August, 2020 at 6:21pm
@Interguy - 'Every inter fan can feel the dread knowing it just feels like we are going to bottle this game'
Not just Inter fans - all supporters of Italian football carry the same dread.
Here is hoping for the right result. Inter 2 - 0
on the 15th August, 2020 at 5:19pm
@Anonymous - please give it a rest. Let's just all get behind Inter and Italian football. There hasn't been a Series A finalist in this competition for what, 20 years?
Your comments are just silly - grow up a bit.
on the 15th August, 2020 at 5:15pm
the last italian team who won ucl was inter. and when that happened. its won two leg semifinal againts the best barca in history of football.
dominating series a for 10 years. change 4 coach conte>allegri>sarri>pirlo, buying ronaldo. not even ronaldo can carried them for CL glory.
and inter has worse team compare to juve when they won ucl. juve squads market values clearly way higher than when inter won ucl. just stop excuses and stop embarrassing italian football
on the 15th August, 2020 at 4:59pm
Every inter fan can feel the dread knowing it just feels like we are going to bottle this game ..I just hope not. We need to score 2 early goals to have any chance because it seems we cannot help but drift out of games late in the second half ..hoping for the best anyways ..Foza inter
on the 15th August, 2020 at 4:49pm
@FERBAN
last time i check the last italian team who won UCL was inter. imagine dominating series a for 10 years can even won even once UCL.
Sacking coach from conte>allergri>sarri. not even ronaldo can carried them to Ucl glory. what more excuse?
when inter won ucl last time, they has worse team compare to juve btw. juventus has higher squad market values and yet always embarrassed italian football.
on the 15th August, 2020 at 4:42pm
@Anonymous

Inter have done nothing BUT embarrass Serie A in Europe for over a decade.

Remember getting knocked out of the CL by Barca's reserve team?
on the 15th August, 2020 at 3:44pm
I've already said it! Shakhtar are BY FAR THE STRONGEST opponent of Inter in this EL campaign! Even as the text above suggests, most ppl don't believe that & consider sides like M-Utd & Sevilla stronger, but if you've been watching all these clubs, you'd know why I say this! WIN SHAKHTAR & YOU CAN EASILY WIN EL TROPHY!
If Inter plays the way the started EL, plus with better chance to goal conversion rate, they'll win, if not, consequences could be bad! Of course, defense has to be TOP!
on the 15th August, 2020 at 3:10pm
dont worry, inter wont embarrassed italian football, unlike other club who won 10 straight series a title but cant beat 7th france team
on the 15th August, 2020 at 2:34pm

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