Inter-Atletico Madrid 1-0, goal by Arnautovic

The Austrian, who came on in place of the injured Thuram, missed a goal but then scored the decisive goal in the 79th minute. Ninth victory in as many matches for the Nerazzurri in 2024

Andrea Ramazzotti

Inter took the first round of the round of 16 as theirs and beat Atletico thanks to a goal from Arnautovic, who scored the decisive goal after having previously missed a couple of not impossible chances. Qualification is still to be achieved in the return match at Civitas Metropolitano, but Inzaghi enters the second ninety minutes with his head ahead. The Nerazzurri, who achieved 9 successes out of 9 in 2024, deserve the affirmation because in the second half, despite Thuram’s injury, they did much more than their opponents. Perhaps the legs of the Spaniards, who never hit the target, are weighed down by the efforts of this beginning of the year (13 matches played against the 9 of Toro and his teammates) and so Sommer keeps the goal undefeated for the twenty-first time in 34 official matches. The Inter wall holds up once again and the step forward towards the quarterfinals is important. In three weeks Atletico, who had not yet lost in their European campaign, will be forced to win, while the Nerazzurri will have two results out of three available. Not bad…

Chess game

Inzaghi presents himself with the eleven made up of the “very starters” and changes only two men compared to the victory over Salernitana, Darmian and Dimarco for Dumfries and Carlos Augusto. Simeone confirms Marcos Llorente in attack, this time alongside Griezmann, and sends both Depay and Morata to the bench, who was recovered at the last minute. It starts with a minute’s silence for Andy Brehme ignored by the chants of the Spanish fans, so the whole San Siro starts to applaud. Atletico has three behind them (Witsel, Gimenez and Hermoso), but the wingers Molina and Lino often drop down because the colchoneros at the beginning they want Inter to win the match. The Nerazzurri don’t hold back: Calhanoglu sets, the midfielders rise and Barella, who takes off his gloves in the 4th minute after a vertical move not exploited by Thuram, makes it clear that he is charged up. However, the Spaniards are not just defense and after a handful of minutes they raise their center of gravity significantly: the objective is to send a message to their opponents by pressing right into their area. A flick to the left and a shot to the back by Lino gave Sommer shivers and Inter, who missed a few passes more than usual due to the tension, understood the difficulties of the night. Because Witsel is a good bulwark back there, because Atletico is compact and because Mkhitaryan is not as inspired as usual. When Lautaro and his teammates manage to “pierce” the opponent’s aggression, the opportunities arrive, but they are not realized due to some inaccuracy in the finishing.


Atletico plays more games in the same one because it alternates building from low to long balls, high pressure on all the men behind the line of the ball. It’s not easy for Inzaghi to read the challenge and the Lautaro-Thuram pair is less involved than usual. Toro tries to shake things off with a high shot after half an hour, but Calhanoglu shows the best things with sumptuous direction, made up of game changes and short phrasing. This time, however, not all his teammates support him as happens in Serie A. Credit also to the colchoneros who are made of different stuff compared to the teams in our championship. Toro tries again, this time with a header from Barella’s cross, but Oblak is there: it’s the first shot on target. Before the break, the Argentine also had a third opportunity: Thuram intercepted a pass from De Paul, launched himself on the counterattack and then served his captain who had a shot (not irresistible) deflected into a corner by Gimenez. Now Inter have more confidence, but when in the 42nd minute Thuram shoots towards the goal (easy save by Oblak) and then touches his thigh, a chill falls on the Meazza.


Lilian’s son remained on the pitch until half-time, but then raised the white flag due to a right adductor problem and Arnautovic took his place. However, Simeone is also forced to change because Gimenez is not at his best: ex Viola Savic replaces him. The Austrian, after a great outing by Inter and a delightful cross from Dimarco, has the 1-0 ball on his foot, but in a “split” kicks it out. Not an easy opportunity though… Meazza heats up again and Arnautovic heads in Barella’s cross. Simeone understands that a shake-up is needed and removes a midfielder (Saul) to insert the much booed Morata. Llorente moves back to the midfield and the initial 3-5-2 remains unchanged. The response is immediate and the Brazilian Lino, after a great move and a dribble on Darmian, misses the lead from two steps away. However, the biggest opportunity still came from Inter, with the former Bologna striker building a great chance after a triangle with Lautaro, but shooting high from an excellent position. It seems like a curse. The Cholo he draws Reinildo on the bench for Hermoso and Barrios for Molina, Inzaghi responds by replacing the wingers (Dumfries for Darmian and Carlos Augusto for Dimarco) and then also Frattesi for Mkhitaryan. Lautaro highlights Oblak’s reflexes with a header and Simeone’s fort wobbles. The decisive shoulder is given by Arnautovic who with the tap-in nullifies Oblak’s save on Lautaro. Lino’s desperate slide was of no avail: the ball went in and Meazza exploded with joy. Morata comes close to equalizing following De Vrij’s carelessness and Inzaghi removes the cautioned Lautaro to insert Sanchez. After 5 minutes of injury time, Inter are celebrating. Now the work must be completed in Madrid.