Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of making the Champions League knockout stages suffered as they went down to a 2-0 defeat at Inter Milan.
With Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus missing, Dortmund’s attacked was stymied by a regimental defensive effort from the hosts, with two bits of brilliance giving them the lead after 22 minutes. Stefan de Vrij strode confidently out of defence and his lofted pass was lasered brilliantly into the path of Lautaro Martinez who calmly controlled before steering through Roman Burki’s legs.
The early goal allowed Antonio Conte’s men to hold Dortmund at arm’s length for the majority of the match, although two stunning Samir Handanovic saves – first from Jadon Sancho and then Julian Brandt – kept their lead intact.
Martinez was thwarted by Burki from the penalty spot after Mats Hummels had erred by bringing down Sebastiano Esposito, but the home side bookended an impressive display when Antonio Candreva finished off a counter-attack, as well as Dortmund, late on.
Here is how the Inter players rated:
Special thanks to all our traveling fans 💛 pic.twitter.com/GEjQFjTV7s— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) October 23, 2019
Roman Burki 7: Made himself big but Martinez beat him with ease. Powerfully thwarted Martinez from the penalty spot and then acrobatically kept it 1-0.
Julian Weigl 6: Looked composed in centre of Dortmund back three, led team with three tackles, but earned yellow for a bad one late on.
Mats Hummels 5: Can think of no better man for the job of shackling Lukaku. Forced him off after an hour. Challenge on Esposito though was diabolical. Burki bailed him out.
Manuel Akanji 5: Took huge risk when he muscularly shoved Martinez off the ball. Searching long balls rarely worked and he was replaced towards the end.
Achraf Hakimi 7: Always an outlet down the channel with his searching right-wing runs. Chased and harried and also looked likely to spark something, three dribbles caused Inter problems.
Nico Schulz 4: Horrible sliced clearance early on compounded by playing Martinez on for the opener. His game did not get better as he toiled and looked limited.
Axel Witsel 7: Operated Dortmund’s midfield with command and his laser beam passing threatened to open holes in stout Inter defence. Fouled team-high four times; Inter knew who to target.
Thomas Delaney 5: Ran tirelessly alongside Wistel but limited attacking ability blunted his night when Dortmund needed a cutting edge.
Jadon Sancho 7: Rapidly maturing, he assumed the creative burden in absence of Reus. Almost equalised right on half-time, Handanovic pawed it away brilliantly. Second half chance cleared almost off the line.
Julian Brandt 4: Got into dangerous positions but distribution was generally the opposite – 70.7 per cent pass accuracy is not what you want from one of your most creative players. Wasteful but almost brought his side level, deflected strike brilliantly kept out by Handanovic.
Thorgan Hazard 4: Struggled to make his mark on the game, showed good trickery and delivered a decent cross for Sancho’s deflected effort.
Mahmoud Dahoud 5: Got significant time but could do little to break Inter’s stranglehold on proceedings.
Jacob Bruun Larsen 5: Rep[laced Akanji to give hosts more thrust, was neat and tidy, but could offer little else.
Raphael Guerreiro N/A: Brought on late to add zip, little impact.
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