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Champions League: why Inter Milan should not be buried


Highlights: Manchester City faces Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul. Pep Guardiola's team is looking for a treble after winning the Premier League and FA Cup. Inter Milan has demonstrated their typically Italian ability to defend very well. Manchester City has two stars of the round ball in Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland. Inter has six players in the top 25 with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo adding to the two names previously mentioned.

Even if Manchester City is a huge favorite to win the first C1 in its history, the Italian team will not approach this final as a resigned victim.

Chronicle of a coronation announced for Manchester City, in search of a fabulous treble after its coronation in the Premier League and its conquest of the FA Cup? This is the most likely scenario on Saturday night (21:00) at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul between the team led by Pep Guardiola and Inter Milan. To be convinced a little more, just take a look at the online odds of both formations: unless you bet a fortune, betting on the Citizens will not make you rich. Except that sport is not just about statistics, and that its glorious uncertainty applies wonderfully to football...

To discover

  • Champions League schedule and results

Inter Milan also looking for a treble

Admittedly, in Serie A, the Interists could not do anything against the formidable Neapolitan cavalcade, champion with 16 lengths ahead of... Lazio Roma, the Milan club being content with the third step of the podium with 12 defeats on the counter. Nevertheless, not everything is to be thrown away in this 2022-2023 vintage, quite the contrary. On January 18, the team led by Simone Inzaghi masterfully won the Italian Super Cup at the expense of its neighbor and rival AC Milan (3-0). And more recently, on May 24, the Coppa Italia also fell into its squad with a success over Fiorentina (2-1). Proof that Inter knows how to approach its finals. Similarly, the transalpine club was able to extricate itself in the Champions League from a very strong group by finishing second behind Bayern Munich, but ahead of FC Barcelona, future champions of Spain.

A particularly strong team

Since the start of the Champions League finals, Inter Milan have demonstrated their typically Italian ability to defend very well. Thus, in six games, the Nerazzurri have conceded only three goals, all in the same match, a quarter-final return against Benfica totally unbridled at the end of the match (3-3) while the qualification of the Interistes was no longer in doubt. Otherwise, neither Porto in the 8th final, nor AC Milan in the semifinals managed to break through the safe of Inter. With a three-centre defence around the old grognard Francesco Acerbi (35) and the young Alessandro Bastoni (24), and a goalkeeper, André Onana, back to his best after his long suspension (9 months) for taking a drug placed on the list of banned products, the Milan rearguard can also count on the defensive work of full-backs Dumfries and Dimarco, not to mention the compact curtain in midfield symbolized by Nicolo Barella. So much so that references such as the future Parisian Milan Skriniar or the Dutch international Stefan de Vrij are reduced to playing the simple utilities on the bench for several weeks. This final should therefore be a real opposition of styles between the flamboyant Mancunian attack and the Milanese solidity, capable of stopping any attack.

Experience and talent in all positions

If Manchester City has two stars of the round ball in Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, and that in the ranking of the last Ballon d'Or had six players in the top 25 with Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo (now at Bayern Munich) adding to the two names previously mentioned, Inter Milan, him, has no superstars. In attack, Romelu Lukaku could have claimed this status two years ago, but he remains on two disappointing seasons, one at Chelsea, the other at Inter. At 25 years old, his colleague Lautaro Martinez is metronomically consistent (21 goals each time in the last two seasons in Serie A) but he is still (unfairly) unknown to the general public. As for Edin Dzeko, at 37 years old, he still has beautiful remains but is no longer the formidable goalscorer he used to be. Nevertheless, he symbolizes, with Acerbi, the goalkeeper Samir Handanovic (38 years old, substitute today but still very important in the dressing room), the midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan (34 years old) or Marcelo Brozovic (30 years old), this old guard, very experienced. And at the opposite end of the spectrum are Barella and Bastoni, the two great talents expected soon to be at the top of the Boot, all forming a formidable blend. Without a gondola head, therefore, but not without assets.

The pressure on Manchester City

Since the qualification against Real Madrid in the semi-finals (1-1, 4-0), which many observers had described as final before the letter, nobody, or almost, imagines Manchester City stumbling on the last step. But it is never easy to approach a final with this status of hyper favorite, which somehow takes away your right to lose. Moreover, the history of football is paved with teams praised, but which have brutally fallen to earth. Beyond the fact that everything remains possible on a match – including a game such as an expulsion in the first quarter of an hour that could come to redistribute the cards – the big question before this final is the following: how will the Citizens react if they do not manage to quickly break through the transalpine defense? Could they get frustrated, a feeling reinforced by this status of favorites that they obviously cannot ignore? One thing is certain: Inter Milan have the means to make them doubt, and the more they succeed, the more City will feel the pressure.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-06-10

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