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Manchester City logo
Champions League | Final
Jun 10, 2023 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Inter logo
Man City
Inter Milan

Champions League: Reasons for Inter Milan to be confident of beating Manchester City

Ahead of Saturday's Champions League final, Sports Mole looks at four reasons why Inter Milan can be confident of beating Manchester City in Istanbul.

Inter Milan will look to stand in the way of a first Champions League crown for Manchester City, when the two meet in the final in Istanbul on Saturday.

After seeing off bitter rivals AC Milan in a Euroderby semi-final, and Portugal's finest in the two rounds prior, Inter will now be aiming for a first European crown since 2010.

Simone Inzaghi's side enter the final with confidence having rallied late in the season to secure Champions League football, as well as winning the Coppa Italia.

Here, Sports Mole looks into four potential factors which could provide the Nerazzurri with some confidence ahead of the showpiece match.

Inter's cup specialist manager

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi on May 10, 2023© Reuters

In his time as manager of both Lazio, and now Inter, manager Inzaghi has become renowned for being something of a cup specialist, claiming a piece of a major silverware already this season after seeing off Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia final two weeks ago.

Defending their crown from last season means Inzaghi has now won the Coppa in three of the last five seasons at his two respective clubs, adding on to the four Supercoppa titles he has also claimed in that time.

While the domestic league season did not go as planned this year, there is no doubting Inzaghi has got it spot on in Europe in each of their knockout ties so far, as well as in the double-header against Barcelona in the group stage.

Keeping five clean sheets in their six Champions League knockout games so far is testament to Inzaghi's tactical approach to each encounter which has worked a treat, especially in away trips to Porto and Benfica.

Should Inter be able to keep Man City at bay here, they would equal the all-time record for clean sheets kept in the knockout stages of a single Champions League campaign.

Thriving as underdogs

Inter Milan's Milan Skriniar celebrates their third goal on October 12, 2022© Reuters

Inter enter the final as one of the biggest underdogs seen in a Champions League final in recent memory, but that should not be detrimental to the Nerazzurri, who have performed well when starting as the outsider on plenty of occasions this season.

They were not fancied to get out of their group ahead of recently crowned German and Spanish champions Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but took four points off the Catalonian side to progress.

Portuguese champions Benfica went in as slight favourites in the quarter-finals after their impressive run through the competition, but Inter comfortably saw them off to progress.

Inzaghi's men were also the first side to defeat Serie A winners Napoli this season, beating the Partenopei 1-0 at San Siro in January in a game where they restricted Luciano Spalletti's free-flowing outfit to very little in terms of chances.

That is the sort of game plan they will need to execute against Man City, and having done it against three domestic champions across some of Europe's top leagues, they have proved they are capable of upsetting the odds.

Aerial advantage

Inter Milan's Federico Dimarco in action with AC Milan's Davide Calabria on February 5, 2023© Reuters

A way for Inter to punish City while having vastly fewer sequences of possession will be to target set pieces and crosses, and they have got all the tools required to do so.

A significant aerial advantage with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Edin Dzeko, Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni can overpower the City defensive line in the air, and with dead-ball specialists Federico Dimarco and Hakan Calhanoglu in the side, they can be entrusted in picking out the killer balls.

The opening goal in each of their three knockout ties so far have all come from high crosses into the box, where Lukaku (vs Porto), Nicolo Barella (vs Benfica) and Dzeko (vs Milan) all got on the end of deliveries to fire the Nerazzurri ahead on each occasion.

Dimarco could well be Inter's secret weapon if they can make forays in the City half often enough, as the Italian left wing-back does not rely on his pace, but instead on clever movement which allows him to ghost into dangerous positions unattended in the opposition penalty area.

That battle against Kyle Walker should be very intriguing, as Dimarco has been Inter's chief supplier in Europe, registering five UCL assists this season - only Kevin De Bruyne has more.

Recent form

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring their first goal on May 24, 2023© Reuters

While the consensus has been that Man City will sweep Inter aside with consummate ease, a look at the recent form of Inzaghi's side suggests you should write them off at your peril.

Since seeing off Benfica in the quarter-finals, Inter have won 11 of their 12 matches in all competitions, with a defeat away at Napoli being the only blemish on the record across that period.

The results in that time have included a Coppa Italia final victory, two wins over Milan in the semi-finals of this competition, and successes over Juventus, Roma, Lazio and Atalanta - all sides who have qualified for European football next season.

Lautaro Martinez has been a key factor in that superb run of form, reaching 28 goals for the campaign, and he could become just the third player in the 21st century to win the Champions League and the World Cup in the same season.

Martinez netted both goals in the Coppa Italia final against Fiorentina, and also fired home the clinching goal against Milan which won them the second leg in the Champions League semi-final, in doing so, proving he is the man for the big occasion.

Read more on Manchester City vs Inter Milan

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Group A


Group B

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Group C

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