Inter lose three points against a crippled Real Madrid. Whilst the Blancos outclassed the Nerazzurri, they did so missing crucial players.
An early penalty allowed Hazard to put one behind Handanovic. In the first twenty minutes, it seemed as if the opponents were from a different planet. Then Inter started playing their game up until Vidal claimed with excessive voice a penalty. He was booked. He kept protesting. He was expelled, leaving Inter one man down in the 33rd.
In the second half, Conte made substitutions changing the layout to a 4-4-1. With Lukaku alone upfront, Inter pushed but Real Madrid pulled rank. They defended flawlessly and pushed forward when they had the chance. They outclassed Inter. Just like in the occasion of the second goal where Rodrygo scored with his first touch of the game. Inter kept trying but failed all times, then it ended.
Inter now find themselves bottom of the group. Mathematically, once again, qualifying depends on other teams slipping up. Inter must win the next two fixtures and Borussia M’gladbach must lose both.
The fault is Conte’s, and his highly regarded player Vidal. It is the Chilean’s fault if the Nerazzurri found themselves one man for the last hour. Conte once again snubbed Eriksen’s unquestionable quality, preferring Gagliardini to him. In midfield, Modric and Kroos outshined Barella and Gagliardini. Conte subbed Lautaro out to create a more defensive team, thus halving our goalscoring capabilities. To add insult to injury Eriksen was subbed on in the last minutes, which is disgraceful on Conte’s behalf.
Zidane also outclassed Conte. He was perfectly capable of dealing with the absence of Ramos and Valverde. Crippled Inter helped, but it was clear how well the Blancos rubbed salt into the wound. Perfect defense and fast counter-attacks mixed with possession to control the rhythm rendered Inter harmless.
Inter are now unlikely to qualify, and will probably play in Europa League once again. If the situation in Serie A does not change rapidly and Inter do not win the scudetto, Conte will have to answer for that.