CL: Inter battle to Gladbach draw

It was a topsy-turvy game at San Siro, as Romelu Lukaku’s brace ultimately rescued Inter from a home defeat in their 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach.

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In the same group, Real Madrid suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat to decimated Shakhtar Donetsk, having been 3-0 down at half-time with a last-gasp equaliser disallowed.

The Nerazzurri had to revamp their squad, as between COVID-19 and injuries, they missed Achraf Hakimi – who tested positive just hours before kick-off – Milan Skriniar, Ashley Young, Roberto Gagliardini, Ionut Radu, Stefano Sensi and Matias Vecino, with Alessandro Bastoni, Radja Nainggolan and Marcelo Brozovic only fit for the bench, so Christian Eriksen got a rare start. Gladbach were without Denis Zakaria, Laszlo Benes, Andreas Poulsen, Mamadou Doucoure, Louis Beyer, Kaan Kurt and Inter loanee Valentino Lazaro.

Matteo Darmian was the last-minute replacement for Hakimi and had the first chance, nodding the Ivan Perisic cross over. Darmian also set up Eriksen for a shot charged down by Kramer from 12 yards, the Dane saw another attempt blocked by defensive bodies.

Just before the break, Lukaku got away from defenders with a step-over and his shot flashed across the face of goal.

Inter were toothless, so Lautaro Martinez replaced Alexis Sanchez for the restart. It made an immediate impact, as they scored just four minutes later.

Lautaro’s header was going wide, but Danilo D’Ambrosio knocked it back from the by-line and Darmian prodded the ball on for Lukaku to fire in from close range.

Darmian was having an impressive debut in the Nerazzurri jersey and saw his shot blocked by Ginter, but Gladbach received a penalty when Arturo Vidal tripped Marcus Thuram. The referee hadn’t spotted it, but made the decision after a VAR check, and Champions League debutant Ramy Bensebaini buried it into the bottom corner to equalise.

Darmian threatened on the counter immediately, his ball neither a cross for Ivan Perisic, nor a shot to the far bottom corner.

There was chaos on 84 minutes, as first Lautaro Martinez’s glancing finish thumped the upright from close range, then Samir Handanovic came flying out into midfield to clatter into Alassane Plea and was fortunate to only be booked.

Gladbach pounced on a defensive error to take the lead for the first time on 84 minutes, as Vidal completely failed to cut out the Neuhaus slide-rule pass, sending Jonas Hofmann clear to nutmeg on-rushing Handanovic. There was a very long break while the VAR checked a possible offside, as Plea appeared to get a touch, but it was given.

No sooner had play resumed, Inter came pouring forward and Darmian’s header was fingertipped over the bar. On the resulting Aleksandar Kolarov corner, Alessandro Bastoni flicked it on for Lukaku to bundle over the line at the back post.

Deep into stoppages, Kolarov’s free kick hit the wrong side of the net, with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Inter 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach

R Lukaku 49, 90 (I), Bensebaini pen 63 (B), Hofmann 84 (B)

Inter: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Kolarov; Darmian, Barella, Vidal, Perisic (Bastoni 79); Eriksen (Brozovic 79); Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez (Lautaro Martinez 46)

Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus; J Hofmann, Embolo (Herrmann 74), Thuram (Wolf 95); Plea

Ref: Kuipers (NED)


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