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Preview: Inter Milan vs. Shakhtar Donetsk - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Inter Milan could move one step closer to the last 16 of the Champions League if they can beat already-eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk in their penultimate Group D encounter on Wednesday night.

Each of the last three meetings between these two sides has ended goalless, including September's stalemate in Ukraine.


Match preview

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi on October 19, 2021© Reuters

After claiming a point in the Milan derby before the international break, Inter Milan became the first team to defeat high-flying Napoli in Serie A this season, when they secured an entertaining 3-2 victory on home soil last weekend.

Strikes from Hakan Calhanoglu, Ivan Perisic and Lautaro Martinez, either side of goals from Napoli pair Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens, ensured all three points were claimed by the Nerazzurri for the eighth time this term.

Not only did that victory help the Scudetto holders lay down their title credentials, but it also moved them to within four points of the Gli Azzurri at the summit.

Simone Inzaghi's men are also in with a good chance of progressing to the Champions League knockout stages, as they sit second in Group D and two points behind leaders Real Madrid, who they will face in their final group match next month.

After a slow start to their European campaign, claiming just one point from a possible six available, Inter have since secured maximum points in home and away fixtures against tournament debutants Sheriff Tiraspol, which as a result has seen the Italian giants leapfrog their Moldovan counterparts into the qualification places.

Inter now prepare for Wednesday's encounter, hoping they can finally find a way to breach Shakhtar's backline, after failing to do so from 43 shots on goal in each of their last three meetings against them.

Victory for Inzaghi's side at San Siro would book their place in the last 16 for the first time since 2011-12, if Sheriff also fail to beat Real Madrid.

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Roberto De Zerbi reacts on September 28, 2021© Reuters

Shakhtar Donetsk extended their unbeaten domestic run to 12 matches when they secured a 2-0 victory at home against Rukh Vynnyky last weekend.

The 13-time Ukrainian champions were set to settle for just a point; however, two late strikes in the final five minutes from Marcos Antonio and Tete helped the Hirnyky get over the line and keep within touching distance of rivals Dynamo Kiev, who are clinging onto top spot based on goals scored.

For the last three seasons, Shakhtar have been demoted from the Champions League group stage into the Europa League, after finishing third on each occasion. However, this campaign, the Ukrainians are at risk of missing out altogether, as they currently sit five points behind Sheriff in third spot.

In their most recent Group D encounter, striker Fernando managed to score their first goal in this year's competition against Real Madrid; however, a brace from Karim Benzema helped the Spanish giants claim a 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu and condemned Roberto De Zerbi's men to their third defeat in four group matches.

Securing maximum points from their final two fixtures is now required for Shakhtar if they are to avoid finishing bottom of the group for the first time since 2007-08, though success on Wednesday could prove to be a tall order.

Inter Milan Champions League form:
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W

Shakhtar Donetsk Champions League form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Shakhtar Donetsk form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W


Team News

Inter Milan's Joaquin Correa celebrates scoring against Udinese on October 31, 2021© Reuters

Inter Milan centre-back Stefan De Vrij and forward Alexis Sanchez both remain on the sidelines with hamstring injuries, while Joaquin Correa is doubtful after being forced off in the win against Napoli with an unspecified injury.

Martinez and Eden Dzeko are expected to lead the line in attack, if Correa is not deemed fit to feature, with Turkish playmaker Calhanoglu to operate in the number 10 role just behind.

Andrea Ranocchia will likely retain his place in defence, as De Vrij watches on from the sidelines, joining Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni in the back three.

Wing-backs Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco will both be pushing for starts ahead of Matteo Darmian and Perisic, while ever-present due Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic are set to start once again in centre-midfield.

As for Shakhtar, Lassina Traore and Junior Moraes continue to recover from long-term knee injuries, while Yevhen Konoplyanka is suffering with a back problem.

Attacking midfielder Pedrinho made his first appearance in over a month when he came off the bench last weekend, and the Brazilian will now be looking to force his way into the first XI ahead of Alan Patrick.

Twenty-year-old goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin is set to keep his place between the sticks ahead of 37-year-old Andriy Pyatov, while Manor Solomon – who began on the bench against Real Madrid last time out – could be handed a start on the left flank ahead of Mykhaylo Mudryk.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Dimarco; Calhanoglu; Dzeko, Martinez

Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Dodo, Kyvtsov, Marlon, Ismaily; Maycon, Stepanenko; Tete, Pedrinho, Solomon; Fernando


SM words green background

We say: Inter Milan 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Encounters between Inter and Shakhtar have recently seen little goalmouth action; however, with both sides needing to claim a victory in their penultimate Group D match, we may see a less cagey affair on Wednesday.

The two sides have impressed domestically so far this season, though Inter have looked stronger in the Champions League and they should have enough quality in their side to secure a narrow victory at San Siro.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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How you voted: Inter Milan vs Shakhtar

Inter Milan
80.9%
Draw
14.5%
Shakhtar Donetsk
4.6%
241
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Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring against AC Milan in Serie A on February 21, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan16122235181738
2Inter Milan16114139152437
3Napoli16113234122236
4Atalanta BCAtalanta16104235191634
5Juventus168352216627
6Fiorentina169072722527
7Roma168172419525
8Lazio167453230225
9Bologna167362327-424
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona166553228423
11SassuoloSassuolo165562625120
12Empoli156272328-520
13Torino155371916318
14Udinese153752024-416
15Sampdoria164392232-1015
16VeneziaVenezia164391529-1415
17SpeziaSpezia1633101736-1912
18Genoa161781731-1410
19CagliariCagliari151681629-139
20Salernitana1622121133-228

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