Sunday, April 14

Real hopes of CL resurrection against Inter

Real Madrid is hosting Italian giants Inter Milan in a UEFA Champions League Group B match on Tuesday, which could turn into a make or break game for both these European giants.

After playing Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Monchengladbach, Real Madrid is at the bottom of the group with just one point. Inter Milan on the other hand have two points after drawing against the same oppositions and lies third.

With each game, the problems only seem to escalate for Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman has as many as five first-team stars on the sidelines due to injuries and other concerns ahead of Tuesday’s encounter. He will not have the services of Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez, Martin Odegaard, and Dani Carvajal, whereas Alvaro Odriozola, due to a calf injury, remains a doubt. Although Vazquez traveled with the squad, he had picked up a muscular problem against Huesca and thus Spanish club’s problems at right-back have worsened.

However, with Ramos back, his partnership with Varane could be one of the key things Inter’s mastermind Antonio Conte should be worried about. On the weekend, Toni Kroos started on the bench but should arrive in the XI on Tuesday night, while Eden Hazard got his name on the scoresheet on his return to the squad against Huesca. The Belgian international may again spearhead a front three alongside Marco Asensio and Benzema.

It’s a tough situation for the For Los Blancos, as a defeat on Tuesday will make matters even more difficult as they will need to win all the remaining three games to have any chances to qualify for the knockout stage.

There are no fresh injury issues for Antonio Conte to disrupt his plans ahead of the trip to the Spanish capital. But with a muscular strain, Romelu Lukaku is a doubt and it seems extremely unlikely that the striker would be ready to even make the bench. Stefano Sensi, who is still suffering from a thigh injury, is the only other absentee.

Lautaro Martinez is likely to start in the final third of the field, while Alexis Sanchez may pair up. With the Chilean international being left out on Saturday against Parma in order to be fit for this game but Conte remained coy when asked about Sanchez’s chance to start the game.

In opening up spaces around the Real Madrid defense, Sanchez’s mazy runs and off-the-ball work will be vital, particularly with the struggling Christian Eriksen unlikely to feature. The starting side may all be back with Arturo Vidal, Marcelo Brozovic, and Ashley Young while in the back three, Danilo D’Ambrosio is supposed to be handed a spot.

Real Madrid will play this game on the strength of Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Huesca in La Liga. On the other side, Inter Milan, on Saturday, drew 2-2 against Parma in Serie A, coming from behind to secure a draw. Inter Milan had a marginal edge in nine previous meetings between the two sides, winning five games, losing three, and drawing one.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup: Courtois; Vasquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Hazard, Benzema, Asensio

Inter Milan possible starting lineup: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, de Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Young; Martinez, Sanchez

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