SAN FRANCISCO, November 26, (THEWILL) – Inter Milan, one of the early favourites to qualify out of Group B appear on the verge of exiting the UEFA Champions League after losing 2-0 to Real Madrid in Wednesday’s clash at the San Siro.
The La Liga champions, who won the reverse fixture 3-2 earlier this month to revive their European campaign, made a strong start in the first meeting between these top sides at Inter’s iconic ground since 1998.
When Nicolo Barella, central attacking midfielder for Inter, clipped the heels of Nacho Fernandez inside the box in the 7th minute, it gave Eden Hazard the opportunity to powerfully dispatch his spot-kick despite goalkeeper Samir Handanovic guessing the right way.
Madrid’s right-winger Lucas Vazquez fired a 25-yard shot that crashed against the base of the upright and Hazard was denied a second by Handanovic as the visitors went looking for an opportunity to double their advantage in the absence of star striker Karim Benzema and skipper Sergio Ramos.
The hosts struggled to find creativity in the centre of the park. Instead, they were down to 10 men before the break when ex-defensive midfielder for Barcelona, Arturo Vidal, reacted angrily to a penalty call not going his way and got himself a couple of quickfire yellow cards for dissent.
Inter had another penalty shout rejected when central defensive midfielder Roberto Gagliardini went to ground under pressure and the referee waved for play to continue. Then, shortly before the hour mark, Inter’s frustrations worsened when ⁹⁹0 substitute Rodrygo, who had been on the field for just 32 seconds, took control of Vazquez’s back-post cross and scored.
It was until the 82nd minute before Madrid goalie Thibaut Courtois was tested for the first time. It was a routine save to keep out a shot from Inter substitute Ivan Perisic. It turned out to be a comfortable victory for Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Inter have failed to win any of their first four Champions League games in a season with two losses and two draws for the first time and are all but out of the competition, needing to win their remaining two matches and hoping that other results go their way.
The Serie A outfit who have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, next travel to Sassuolo on their return to domestic action on Saturday. Madrid, on the other hand, will be looking for their first La Liga win in three outings when they host Deportivo Alaves on the same day.