Europa League: Inter Milan Seek First European Final In 10 Years As They Battle Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan will go into Monday night’s Europa League semi-final against Shakhtar Donetsk hoping to qualify for their first final in an European Cup final since 2010.
In the 2009/2010 football season Inter Milan, under Jose Mourinho clinched the treble which include the Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Champions League.
Since their achievement 10 years ago the Nerrazurri have not come close to an European Cup final.
But this year they are very close to a final but must over Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in Dusseldorf, Germany.
And despite justifiably being regarded as the marginal favourites going into Monday’s game, Inter cannot afford any complacency against a Shakhtar side which may relish their tag of underdogs.
Luis Castro has only been in charge for 14 months, but the Portuguese has already guided Shakhtar to their best European effort since 2016.
Having agonisingly missed out on a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, the Ukrainian side have responded with entertaining victories over Benfica, Wolfsburg and Basel respectively.
While Inter have undoubtedly benefitted from Romelu Lukaku’s 31 goals, Conte has not been shy in making full use of a widely-talented squad, giving his side an extra edge heading into the closing stages of Serie A and this competition.
Like Lukaku’s role at Inter, Shakhtar have a talisman in Junior Moraes who is clear in the scoring charts with six strikes in Europe this campaign, with regular support coming from many of the club’s creative players.
Meanwhile, Inter will have to make do without Alexis Sanchez after the Chile international suffered a muscular injury in training.
Matias Vecino also finds himself out of contention, putting Conte in a position where he may select the same starting XI.
That would see Milan Skriniar and Christian Eriksen remain among the replacements.
For Castro, he will welcome Davit Khocholava back into his Shakhtar squad after the Georgian completed a ban.
However, after the manner of the win over Basel, Castro could opt to retain the same side.
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