Inter Milan confirmed their ticket to the final as they swept Shakhtar which, unexpectedly, had a disappointing performance. Apart from the score (5-0), the meet allowed us to enjoy Marcos Antonio (20 years old, Brazil) and Nicolò Barella (23 years old, Italy), among others. Let´s take some tactical notes and stand out the best players:
Ukrainian team, difference of Bayern Leverkusen, decided to not carry out a high pressure on Inter, as they were aware of Lukaku and Lautaro´s danger on making runs to catch long throws on the defense back. However, they waited on their half where, once they stole the ball, they activated their creative area right away.
This strategy began with Stepanenko, an Ukrainian midfielder that positioned himself between the two central defenders in order to help on progressing with the ball from backwards. Alan Patrick and Marcos Antonio would take over in the next step to produce circulation on the ball thanks to their constant moves. Moreover, Taison and Marlons would make diagonal runs to interior areas to provide their teammates with passing options.
We must take a look at Marcos Antonio´s job on the offensive phase. His energy and accuracy with the ball in his feet allowed him to show up in different areas of the field, always on the right spot to receive it and take quick touches to his teammates. He proved to have a proper technique and game vision. He is a player to take into account.
Inter were dominated in the first twenty minutes of the game, but a mistake on Pyatov passing the ball gave Barella the chance to send a perfect cross to Lautaro that the Argentinian headed into the net. From this moment, Conte´s squad based their performance on securing their lead and looking for counterattacks.
The outstanding defensive skills on the Italian squad were led by De Vrij and, overall, Barella. The young midfielder had multiple steals to recover possession as well as he created multiple dangerous actions. This way, he stood out both defensively and offensively, which is a sign of his polyvalence. He is the kind of player that coach Antonio Conte loves to have on his team.
Lautaro Martínez (22 years old, Argentina), also had good night, as he scored a pair and had one assist. However, it was not just statistics. “The Bull” also stands out on his job without the ball: he is sacrificed man on the pressure, runs and proper positioning in general. With the ball in his feet, he proves an excellent technique on finishing and as well as assisting his partner in crime Lukaku. He is a recognized player in Europe and constantly linked to Barça´s future plans.
The game showed that Sevilla will face a tough opponent in the final: very compacted team and hard to penetrate; ability to send long throws to Lukaku and Lautaro; great passing on taking the ball from backwards; and much quality to create danger forward. We will see if both teams reach their highest level on Friday.