Inter Milan-CSKA Moscow: No Time To Waste The Good Work Against Chelsea
When your exams are over, it is usually time to relax. You can put your feet up for a while and bask in the sense of achievement or, at the very least, relief that your suffering is over. For Inter Milan, however, there is no such respite.
The Nerazzurri delivered one of their best ever European performances to beat Chelsea home and away and progress in the Champions League. They were rightly lauded for an outstanding display.
But the world of football waits for no man.
Jose Mourinho's men will be called upon to perform similar heroics against CSKA Moscow this week. With no disrespect to the Russians, it would be a shame to waste the great work against the Blues by blowing it in the quarter-finals.
Inter go into the match with their confidence dented by defeat at Roma in Serie A. However, their title credentials lost little in that match. They fought like lions in the second half but were narrowly outplayed in a gripping encounter.
If they can play like they did for 45 minutes in the Olimpico, they should be able to progress in Europe.
Their mission, however, is not without its issues. Inter are a high attrition side due to the number of unnecessary fouls they commit and tend to pick up suspensions like you or I pick up chewing gum on our shoes.
It means they go into this key match without Brazilian stars Lucio and Thiago Motta. They will miss them both but probably the former a bit more than the latter who has flitted in and out of form this season.
With goals a priority, it seems likely Mourinho will use an aggressive forward line just as he did at Stamford Bridge with Diego Milito backed up by Goran Pandev, Sammy Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder.
However, he will want some midfield cover, too, as the Russians are pacy on the break. That could see Javier Zanetti and Estaban Cambiasso providing an Argentinian shield in front of the defence.
Milos Krasic and the classy Alan Dzagoev (when the youngster plays) have been CSKA's main goal threat in the tournament so far and they will need to be watched closely if Inter hope to progress. Any slip-ups could allow an away goal which the Italians can ill afford to concede.
The Serie A side should have too much quality for their opposition but football has a nasty habit of failing to follow the path that everyone expects. Inter pulled off something of a surprise in the last round.
They will need to be on their guard if they wish to avoid being the victims of one in the quarterfinals.
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