Inter Milan will be aiming to do the double over Sheriff Tiraspol and give themselves a strong chance of making the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Inter Milan defeated Sheriff Tiraspol at San Siro last time around to register their first win in this season’s UEFA Champions League. They will be keen to repeat the same and complete the double over the Moldovans.
Another win on the trot will give the Nerazzurri some much-needed momentum going into the final stretch of games in the group stages. It will also see them overtake Sheriff and take a major step forward in their effort to qualify for the round of 16. The Italians were in fact the first side to defeat Sheriff in Europe this season.
The Moldovans were brought back to earth at San Siro following back to back wins against Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid. Since then, Inter have had a slew of poor results that saw them drop behind Napoli and AC Milan in the race for the Serie A title. Simone Inzaghi’s side have shown themselves to have a soft underbelly that could be pierced if probed right.
Backed by a home crowd, Sheriff Tiraspol would be well placed to do just that. Yuriy Vernydub’s men head into the clash after winning 10 of their first 12 matches in the Moldovan top flight. The good form came crashing down at the San Siro as Inter sliced through them at will. It was very much a wake-up call for the Moldovans who could now get their revenge.
A win for the home side will not just secure their position in the group but also hand a blow to the side likely to challenge their qualification to the next round. The Yellow-Blacks are unbeaten in their last five home games in major European competitions. A win will at the very least guarantee Sheriff’s spot in the top three of the group.
This means they will continue to participate in continental competitions, be it in the Champions League or Europa League. With Real expected to beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the other Group D game, the result at the Bolshaya Sportivnaya Arena could prove pivotal. It promises to be an excellent game between two sides still very much in the fray to qualify at the expense of the other.
Team News & Tactics
Sheriff will be without Lovro Bizjak who is recovering from a foot injury. Momo Yansane and Boban Nikolov are also doubts for the game. The Moldovan giants often use a 4-3-3 system but reverted to a 4-2-3-1 at San Siro. Given how easily Inter were able to outfox them, it remains to be seen if a change in tactics is on the cards.
Georgios Athanasiadis looks set to start in goal and will have the South American pair of Danilo Arboleda and Gustavo Dulanto shielding him at the heart of the defence. Brazilian duo Cristiano and Fernando Costanza will be tasked with providing width on the flanks from the full-back slots.
Sebastien Thill, who scored at the San Siro, and Edmund Addo will be tasked with the anchor role in midfield. They will be tasked with winning the battle in the centre of the park, something that cost them dear in the reverse fixture.
Dimitris Kolovos, skipper Frank Castaneda and Adama Traore look set to start behind Jasurbek Yakhshiboev. They will hope to enjoy better fortunes this time around against a solid Inter defence.
The Moldovans will be expected to sit back and soak in the pressure before hitting Inter on the break. In Sebastien Thill, they have a player who appears to relish the big nights. Inter could find it hard to stop the hosts should he get going on the night.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Athanasiadis; Costanza, Arboleda, Dulanto, Cristiano; Addo, Thill; Traore, Kolovos, Castaneda; Yakhshiboev
The Italian giants have no major absentees for the game sans Christian Eriksen. Inzaghi has options at his disposal and can deploy his side in a number of formations. The Nerazzurri boss loos set to go with his preferred three-man defence once again. Samir Handanovic will start in goal while Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar.
Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic are likely to start in the wing-back positions and will have key roles to play on the night. Not only will the duo be asked with defending but also to hit Sheriff on the counters and make crosses into the opposition box.
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Marcelo Brozovic will be expected to be the lynchpin in midfield and could start with the duo of Arturo Vidal and Nicolo Barella alongside him. This gives Inter the right mix of brawn and class as they look to stifle Thill and win the midfield battle again.
Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko caused Sheriff many problems at San Siro and there is little reason for Inzaghi to break up the combo. Angel Correa could however replace the former given his brace at the weekend. With the Milan derby coming up, this will also permit Inzaghi to keep Martinez fresh.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Perisic; Dzeko, Correa
- Inter Milan and Sheriff Tiraspol have met just once before in their history. That game took place two weeks ago at San Siro where the Nerazzurri prevailed 3-1.
- Sheriff are unbeaten in their last 11 league outings.
- Dumitru Celeadnic remains the only Moldovan player to start a game for Sheriff in the UEFA Champions League this season.
- Inter have only won two of their last 10 matches in the Champions League. A win on the night will see Inter register consecutive wins in the competition for the first time since 2018.
- Inter Milan have failed to score in five of their last eight games in the UEFA Champions League.
Player to Watch
The Bosnian was the man of the moment in the reverse fixture. Sheriff found it difficult to handle the striker’s physicality and also his prowess in the air. At 35, the striker is a veteran of the game and has used his experience to great effect. Another good outing in Moldova cannot be ruled out and it could prove pivotal to how Inter fare on the night.
The better Dzeko is at keeping the ball, the more Inter’s midfield including Barella can push forward. It will also provide second balls for the likes of Ivan Perisic to win and run into space with. Dzeko remains a potent threat and could be the difference-maker on the night.
Sheriff Tiraspol 1-1 Inter Milan
Inter go into the game buoyed by high spirits after their first win of the competition. Sheriff, meanwhile, have a chance to show they have learned from the last game. Urged on by their home fans, the Moldovan giants could very well take the game to Inter. The Italians, for their part, have shown themselves to be overwhelmed by the occasion and have a lot of holes Sheriff can exploit. It will not come as a surprise if the game ends with the spoils shared.