Inter’s first Champions League match against Slavia Prague didn’t go according to script. Slavia Prague were making their first appearance in the topflight of European football in 12 years. The hosts were firm favourites, but their campaign was heading for disaster just as quickly as it started.
Slavia Prague were looking to cause an upset until the 92nd minute of play. Here is how it all unfolded.
Inter commenced the match with their current 3-5-2 formation whereas Slavia commenced with a 4-4-2 formation. Inter were unfortunate to not capitalise on an early chance within the first 20 minutes of play. Gathering the ball well inside Slavia’s half, Martinez opted to shoot rather than pass. His shot went passed the keeper as well as past the post missing it all together. Inter’s next big opportunity came only moments later following a foul on Asamoah. Sensi sent the ball from the free kick into the box, with D’ambrosio heading the ball directly at the keeper from point blank range.
Conte’s Inter were unable to capitalise on the chance that they created, many times failing at the last hurdle. Neither Inter nor Slavia were unable to break the stalemate, as they entered the sheds a 0-0.
Inter commenced the second half on the front foot. Martinez again failed to convert the opportunity when a shot from Sensi was parried out. From that point onwards it would seem that Slavia would dictate the run of play. VAR was utilised early in the half, when a potential Asamoah red card was reviewed. Ultimately the decision remained as a yellow card.
Following an upfield dribble by Skriniar who lost the ball, Slavia countered and brought the ball into an attacking position. this opened the door to substitute Zeleny to take a shot. His shot was parried by Handanovic which paved way for Olyanika to pick up the scraps and give Slavia a 1-0 lead in the 63rd minute. It was appearing that an upset was on the cards in what was classified as the group of death.
Was Slavia walking away with the 3 points? The fans were biting their nails, as Slavia continued to press as Inter struggled to find an answer for the goal they conceded. As the 90th minute quickly approached, Inter continued to search for the goal. Hope still existed for Inter, with there 3rd official showing 8 minutes of extra time. Politano was brought down in a tackle just outside the penalty box in the 90th minute of play. Sensi stepped up to take the free kick which ricochet off the cross bar landing at the feet of Barella. He couldn’t make any mistakes from that distance and volleyed it into the bottom left corner. Lukaku almost snatched the full 3 points from Slavia, when his header from point blank range went straight into the keepers hands.
Inter and Slavia shared the points following 98 minutes of entertaining football.
Inter’s first Champions League match was a great indication as to how much work is still to be done in the team. Conte came out after the match taking full responsibility for the result. Although Inter walked away with 1 point, the other Group F fixture ended in a draw also. Meaning that Inter could have been leading the group after round 1. Their next fixture is up against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, as tough match at that.
Stefano Sensi was Inter’s best play on the day recording a man of the match performance. But the rest of the team looked shaky and need to recompose themselves. There is much work that needs to be completed prior to their next fixture, where Inter will face Barcelona on October 3rd (Sydney time) in match day 2.