Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk| Monday 17th August 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Part two of the Europa League semi-finals will see Inter Milan face off versus Shakhtar Donetsk in Düsseldorf for the face to play either Sevilla or Manchester United, who play the night before. This is already Inter’s best run in European competition since the 2009/10 Champions League, whilst Shakhtar last reached this stage in the UEL in 2015/16.
Inter boss Antonio Conte will have to make do without Alexis Sanchez and Matias Vecino due to injury, whilst Shakhtar, managed by Luis Castro, have Davit Khocholava available following suspension. There is every chance both coaches will name an unchanged team following their quarter final ties.
Speaking of the quarters, Inter edged past Bayer Leverkusen 2-1, with all three goals occurring inside the first 25 minutes. The Ukrainians enjoyed an easier night when hammering Basel 4-1, and they found themselves 2-0 ahead inside 25 minutes.
Will that point towards a fast start from both outfits on Monday? Not necessarily. Normally this stage of the competition is played over two legs, so we can’t really go on past scores to determine any real trends. Arsenal versus Valencia last season ended 7-3 on aggregate for what is worth, whilst Frankfurt and Chelsea had to be separated by penalties in the end.
Conte has been getting a tune out of his side for a while now. They’ve played a total of 16 games since returning following the forced Covid-19 break, and suffered just the one defeat in all competitions. That came in freak circumstances when losing to Bologna; a game which had two red cards and a missed penalty.
Only four days separated their quarter-final clash with Getafe and the end of their Serie A campaign, and they’ve been able to carry on the momentum they built. They’ve won five in a row, including four clean sheets and just one goal conceded.
Shakhtar once again breezed their domestic league and they did have a few weeks of rest in order to get ready for this mini UEL tournament. They would defeat Wolfsburg 3-0 in Kiev to back up the 2-1 first leg advantage they gained in Germany some months ago, and as mentioned they smashed Basel last week. They haven’t lost any of their 11 contests since resuming action, and that does also include two clashes with Dynamo Kiev.
Tactics will really be everything is this game and I can see Conte instructing his Inter outfit to sit off and get behind the ball, and then playing on the break. This is something they ultimately prevailed in versus Leverkusen as they had only 40% possession across the 90 minutes. That being said, if they weren’t 2-0 ahead in quick-fire time then they may not necessarily have played in that manner, but I certainly don’t see Shakhtar sitting off unless they themselves have a lead to protect.
The first goal will be massive in this as it’ll ultimately set the tone of the clash. The scorer could then play on the break, but I’m still not massively convinced defensively by either side, which may seem strange given Inter haven’t conceded many of late, plus Shakhtar are hardly leaky at the back, either.
Even in the Getafe tie, Inter made heavy weather of progressing in that tie and if Getafe scores an equalising penalty at 1-0 then there’s every chance it is a different outcome. Basel managed to have 13 shots against Donetsk and perhaps the eventual end results flattered the Ukrainians to a degree.
Their front three of Moraes, Marlos and Taison are absolutely everything to them, and if they tick then Inter could be in some trouble. Inter of course have Lukaku in a rich vein of form as well, so goals should be present in this contest. I think Both Teams To Score is a worthy play.
I’ll combine that in a bet builder to form an official selection of Both Teams To Score and Over 3 Shakhtar Corners at 11/8 (Bet365). I did initially go for Over 4 Corners from Shakhtar but have played it just a little safer.
Inter’s opponents achieved five and six corners respectively in their last two UEL contests, whilst Shakhtar have collected a total of 13 corners in their previous two UEL fixtures. I just think this is good value to throw into a rather unique combo such as this.
Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Both Teams To Score and Over 3 Shakhtar Corners (11/8 Bet365)