Inter Milan suffered a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night which has put them on the cusp of elimination.
The Nerazzurri faced a potentially must-win game against Los Blancos, particularly after leaders Borussia Monchengladbach picked up a second-straight win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
However, it was a poor showing from the beginning and Los Blancos were able to find the scoresheet after just seven minutes after Eden Hazard converted a penalty following Nicolo Barella’s clumsy challenge on Nacho.
Lucas Vazquez nearly doubled the advantage with a stunning strike from outside the box, but unfortunately, he could only find the woodwork at the far post with Samir Handanovic clearly beaten.
At the midway stage of the opening half, Ferland Mendy was put through on goal, but he made the bizarre decision to cross the ball for Mariano rather than test the goalkeeper.
Just when Inter were trying to find their feet in the contest, Arturo Vidal was sent off by referee Anthony Taylor in the 33rd minute after his continuous protest over claims for a penalty.
Los Blancos doubled the advantage prior to the hour mark after an own goal from former graduate Achraf Hakimi and that pretty much ended the contest with Inter managing just one shot on target, coming in the 82nd minute.
Three talking points from Inter’s defeat:
Arturo Vidal letdown his teammates: Vidal has shown in the past that he can be short-tempered, but he should have done better to kept his emotions at check on Wednesday. The Chilean was convinced that he had been fouled in the box by Raphael Varane, but replays showed that the centre-back had made the perfect challenge with a minute touch of the ball. His initial prospects saw Taylor hand him a yellow card and just 10 seconds later, he was sent off after he appeared to square up to the referee. With the red card, he has an unwanted record of being the third player after Patrick Vieira and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be sent off for three Champions League clubs (Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Inter).
Inter dominated in the midfield: The Nerazzurri’s midfield struggled to cope with the movement from the visitors with experienced duo Toni Kroos and Luka Modric dominated the proceedings in the centre of the park. Martin Odegaard, who played in the advanced midfield role of the three, was time and time again afforded with the space to distribute the ball and he provided the key pass leading to the penalty won by Nacho. Barella had probably his toughest game of the season as he conceded the penalty early. He also managed to win only five of his 11 ground duels and lost possession (15) more than any other outfield player on the night.
Inter facing group stage exit again: With the defeat, the Nerazzurri need a number of results to go their way to ensure their progress to the round of 16 of the competition for the first time since 2012. They are currently bottom of Group B with two points with Shakhtar, Real Madrid and Monchengladbach ahead of them with four, seven and eight points respectively. As things stand, their qualification entirely depends on one of Real Madrid or Monchengladbach failing to win their remaining two games while they pick up maximum points from their matches. They are scheduled to face Monchengladbach on the road on Matchday 5 next week.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and Sofascore.com