SBN - Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: UEFA Europa League: Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk

UEFA Europa League: Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk


Antonio Conte's Inter Milan face a stern test in the shape of Shakhtar Donetsk in the semi-finals of the Europa League at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf on Monday night.

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Europa League semi-final
Monday 17 August 
Merkur Spiel-Arena 
21:00

To Win (90 mins)
Inter Milan 15/20
Draw 28/10
Shakhtar Donetsk 33/10

Inter Milan

Inter Milan have been one of the favourites to win the Europa League outright since matchday one. Antonio Conte’s men will be targeting this trophy after falling one-point short off Juventus in the race for the Scudetto in Serie A. 

The Nerazzurri have been impressive under Conte in his first season at the club, almost dethroning perennial champions Juventus, but the signs are there for all to see, it won’t be a one-horse race with the former Juventus and Chelsea manager at the helm.

As fans we’ll look forward to the upcoming battles between Conte and new Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, but the sole focus for now will be claiming the club’s first piece of silverware in 10 years, with Shakhtar at the first hurdle. Inter are fortunate to hold on to Samir Handanovic, who has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Europe since joining from Udinese.

The brand of football Conte trusts the most is played in a 3-5-2 formation, with three centre-halves keeping it solid at the back, allowing the wing-backs space to attack down the flanks. Alessandro Bastoni, Diego Godin and Stefan De Vrij have been the preferred trio playing in front of Handanovic.

Marcelo Brozovic plays in the heart of midfield with the 27-year-old Croatian destroying all opposition combinations or link up play before they threaten the defence. Roberto Gagliardini and Nicolo Barella are the box-to-box midfielders that work their socks off and always keep their team in the contest with their high work rates.

The wing-backs are very important to the way the team plays, Ashley Young and Danilo D'Ambrosio are great in one-on-one situations, never afraid to take on a player and provide great delivery from crosses to the frontmen Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.

Lukaku is in red-hot form, scoring in nine consecutive Europa League matches, but there are many players who can come off the bench and make an impact such as Victor Moses, Alexis Sanchez and Christian Eriksen who possess the experience needed to finish games off strongly. Inter come off two tough matches against Getafe (2-0) and Bayer Leverkusen (2-1) and will now believe that they can go all the way.

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Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk will be looking to replicate their 2009 performance in this tournament when they were crowned champions in Istanbul after defeating Werder Bremen in the final where club legend Dario Srna was named Man of the Match. It remains the club’s biggest achievement and only silverware in European competition.

Shakhtar have won nine of the last 11 league titles in Ukraine and continuously dominate, despite nurturing talented youngsters and selling them for a profit to other clubs. 

Their new crop of talent has played brilliant football and deserve their spot in the last-four. On the way to the semi-finals, beating the likes of Benfica, Wolfsburg and Basel with style and flair oozing out of their attacking and forward-thinking style of play.

The Ukrainian champions have scored 17 times in seven games in the competition and don’t forget that they began the season in the Champions League but were relegated to Europa after finishing third in the group stage behind Manchester City and Atalanta.

Prediction: Inter Milan Win & Both Teams to Score - Yes (2/1)
Shakhtar Donetsk won’t go down without a fight and are expected to score and make the contest interesting. Inter are expected to go through to the final, so, I’ll be going into the Matchbet and Both Teams to Score market and take Inter Milan & Yes at 2/1 odds.

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Written by Bryan Naicker