18 August 2020
Internazionale and Shakhtar Donets go head-to-head at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in the revamped UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
Inter Milan have enjoyed an inexorable European march since exiting the Champions League group stage, winning all four of their matches in the Europa League knock-out phase. Interestingly, each of those triumphs have witnessed the ‘Nerazzurri’ score precisely two goals per game, with three seeing Antonio Conte’s side lead at the half-time break. A 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in their revamped quarter-final clash has improved Inter’s overall record in the Europa League knock-out stage to W10, D2, L4. Also, the Italian giants successfully negotiated their only previous UEFA tie versus Shakhtar, kicking the Ukrainians out of the Champions League qualifying round in 2005/06, 3-1 on the aggregate score (2-0 A, 1-1 H).
Meanwhile, since bowing out of the Champions League group stage, Shakhtar have been nothing short of outstanding, winning all but one of their five outings in the Europa League knockout phase. Indeed, after dumping Benfica in the round of 32, 5-4 on aggregate (2-1 H, 3-3 A), they moved one to dismantle Wolfsburg in the round of 16, running out 5-1 aggregate winners (2-1 A, 3-0 H). Basel then fell victim to Shakhar’s free-flowing attack in the revamped quarter-finals, losing 4-1. It now means that the ‘Hirnyky’ have netted over 1.5 goals in 63.64% (7) of their 11 UEFA outings this season, group stage to the knock-out rounds. However, Shakhtar’s leaky defense has failed to keep a clean sheet in ten of those 11 fixtures, conceding two goals or more on five of those occasions.
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