Champions League, Inter-Benfica 1-0: goal from Thuram

The Nerazzurri beat the Portuguese and lead Group D

Inter beat Benfica 1-0 today 3 October 2023 in the second match of Group D of the Champions League, thanks to a goal from Thuram at San Siro. Inzaghi’s team climbs to the top of the group standings with 4 points together with Real Sociedad, with whom they drew in the first match and who today beat Salzburg. Di Maria’s Benfica remains last with zero points.

The match

Inzaghi, after having made a turnover in Salerno, deploys the typical formation with Sommer between the posts and Pavard-Acerbi-Bastoni in defense. Dumfries and Dimarco on the outside, with Barella, Calhanoglu and Mkhitaryan in midfield and the Lautaro-Thuram duo in attack. Schmidt, however, makes some changes after the championship victory with Porto. In front of Trubin are Morato and Bernat, with Aursnes advanced in the attacking midfield. Otamendi confirmed in the center with Bah on the right. Rafa Silva up front and Di Maria behind the striker David Neres.

In the 4th minute Inter immediately threatened against Dumfries who puts in a low shot for Mkhitaryan who just misses the mark. Schmidt’s team presses all over the pitch but the Nerazzurri manage to find openings to attack: in the 11th minute Calhanoglu opens for Dumfries at the far post, the Dutchman manages to head but misses the target from a few steps away. The Portuguese respond in the 13th minute: Aursnes is served in the penalty area by a lateral foul and kicks hard and low to the near post but Sommer clears it for a corner. Good moment for Benfica who hit the crossbar with Di Maria in the 14th minute who kicks back from the flag and hits the top of the crossbar. In the 18th minute Dumfries is still dangerous but hits a bad shot with his right foot from an excellent position. Inter continued to push and in the 27th minute Dimarco crossed from the left to the far post where Barella was anticipated by Bernat. In the 36th minute Dimarco catches Acerbi in the area, but the centre-back heads too hard and misses the target.

The second half restarts from how the first ended. In the 53rd minute, Dutch winger Dumfries is the one to waste again: Bastoni hits the ball from the left to the far post, Thuram and Dumfries hinder each other and the Dutch strikes very badly. Lautaro takes over and in the 55th minute Barella finds Lautaro in the center of the area, the Argentine strikes with the outside right but hits the crossbar. The same Argentine hits the woodwork again in the 61st minute: Thuram serves Lautaro again in the penalty area, the Nerazzurri captain shoots from a few steps away at the near post, hitting the woodwork, with the ball then landing in the hands of Trubin.

The goal is in the air and arrives in the 62nd minute: Barella vertically finds Dumfries, low cross backwards by the Dutchman for Thuram who beats Trubin at the near post with his right. Double sensational opportunity in the 74th minute for Inter still at Lautaro’s feet. The Argentine arrives alone in front of Trubin, goes around him and shoots towards the net but is met with opposition from Otamendi at the last minute. Shortly after, the number 10 had his shot blocked by the Ukrainian goalkeeper with a monstrous save from a few steps away. In the 83rd minute it was the Portuguese’s turn: the ball was lost by Dimarco on the left, David Neres fed Cabral who kicked out with his right foot from the heart of the penalty area. In the 87th minute Mkhitaryan invents for Lautaro who shoots low to the far post, but finds another miracle from the Ukrainian goalkeeper. The result remains 1-0 but the success is still worth it for Inzaghi’s team.