Saturday August 15 2020
Junior Moraes: 'Take down Inter giant'

Shakhtar Donetsk forward Junior Moraes is ready to ‘take down the giant’ Inter in the Europa League semi-final and reveals he was close to a Serie A move.

The semi-final kicks off on Monday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

“It’s no secret that Inter’s greatest strength is their defence and their physicality, but if Shakhtar want to rule the roost, they have to take down the giant,” Moraes told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Inter are the favourites, but we are in good shape and feel confident. In a one-off match, anything can happen. We want to make history, just like Shakhtar did in the 2009 UEFA Cup.

“My own strength is that I always find a way to score goals. At times I’m up against more physical defenders, who are good on crosses, so I work with the space behind them. I can also get between the lines.

“Taison, Marlos and I know what each of us is going to do before we’ve even done it, we know each other so well.”

Inter forward Romelu Lukaku has scored in his last eight consecutive Europa League games, but Lautaro Martinez is yet to find the net in this tournament.

“Lukaku is a top level striker, fantastic. Obviously, we have to keep a close eye on him, as he can change the game at any moment. Lukaku knows how to hold up the ball, take a shot, or spark the counter-attack.

“Romelu would be a great strike partner for me, helping me to open up the spaces, while I’d like to play with Lautaro for the quick interchanges. Either way, I’d be happy.”

Junior Moraes certainly wouldn’t rule out a Serie A experience for himself and reveals he came close.

“Just over a year ago, when my contract was running down, I received a few calls from Serie A, but it’s difficult to leave Shakhtar. We have such a strong infrastructure, fight for the title and are in the Champions League every year.”

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