Champions League group stage recap: Inter scratch ten-year itch
Monday, 14 February 2022
The Nerazzurri were slow starters but then hit their stride to end a long wait for a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.
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Inter sealed qualification for the UEFA Champions League last 16 with three straight wins, after earning only one point from their first two games, but Simone Inzaghi's men scored too few goals for the chances they created.
Campaign so far
Group D runners-up: W3 D1 L2 F8 A5
Top scorer: Edin Džeko (3)
15/09: Inter 0-1 Real Madrid (Rodrygo 89)
28/09: Shakhtar 0-0 Inter
19/10: Inter 3-1 Sheriff (Džeko 34, Vidal 58, De Vrij 67; Thill 52)
03/11: Sheriff 1-3 Inter (Traore 90+2; Brozović 54, Škriniar 66, Alexis Sánchez 82)
24/11: Inter 2-0 Shakhtar (Džeko 61 67)
07/12: Real Madrid 2-0 Inter (Kroos 17, Asensio 79)
Campaign in ten words: Strong defensively and creating plenty of opportunities but not clinical.
UEFA.com reporter's view
Inzaghi's Inter may be less solid than Antonio Conte's version, despite the same 3-5-2 system, but the Nerazzurri are certainly playing more attacking football compared with last season. They have missed an incredible amount of chances, particularly against Real Madrid and Shakhtar – should they become more clinical up front, they could go a long way.
What we've learned
Inzaghi has quickly proved the doubters wrong after accepting the difficult job of replacing Conte. Likewise Džeko and Denzel Dumfries, who were signed after the departure of key players like Romelo Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi in the summer. The Nerazzurri lost both their games against Real Madrid but delivered against the other opponents in the group, often playing entertaining football.
Fantasy star performers
Marcelo Brozović – 34 points
Milan Škriniar – 33 points
Edin Džeko – 29 points
In: Felipe Caicedo, Robin Gosens
Out: Aleksandar Kolarov, Stefano Sensi
Clubs could register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.
• Inter qualified for the Champions League knockout stage for the first time since the 2011/12 season.
• Inter had more attempts at goal than any other side in the group stage (117).
• Lautaro Martínez (25) and Džeko (23) were first and third respectively in the player totals for attempts but the former did not manage to find the net in Group D.