Inter secured a valuable Champions League point in a dramatic 3-3 comeback draw against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz on Wednesday evening.

As expected, Simone Inzaghi fielded a heavily rotated side, in between matches against Juventus last weekend and Napoli this coming weekend in Serie A. Inter lined up as follows (3-5-2): Audero; Bisseck, de Vrij, Acerbi; Darmian, Frattesi, Asllani, Klaassen, Carlos Augusto; Arnautović, Alexis Sánchez. A Nerazzurri and Champions League debut for Emil Audero, as well as several starts for new summer signings. 

Benfica, looking to secure a win to propel them towards a Europa League finish, fielded a much less rotated squad. Benfica lined up as follows (4-2-3-1): Trubin; Aursnes, António Silva, Otamendi, Morato; Florentino, João Neves; Di María, Rafa, João Mário; Tengstedt.

Inter began the match on the back foot and seemed incredibly disorganized- the result of fielding a lineup with EIGHT changes compared to the previous match against Juventus. For reference, only Stefan de Vrij, Francesco Acerbi and Matteo Darmian started against Juventus. Immediately, you could notice that Inter were succumbing to the press and physicality of this Benfica side. Not much time on the ball, misplaced passes, and turning the ball over was the theme of the opening minutes of this Champions League clash.

In just the 5th minute of action following a decent spell of possession from Benfica, António Silva was able to float a ball in Inter’s 18-yard box, finding an unmarked Casper Tengstedt, who then controlled the ball down nicely for, yes, João Mario, to hit it first-time into the bottom left corner. After a brief VAR check for a potential offside, the ex-Inter man himself opened the score for the hosts just minutes after kick-off.

Inter continued to struggle and moments later, in the 13th minute, Kristjan Asllani was caught trying to dribble out from the back, turning the ball over to Casper Tengstedt. The forward sent the ball into the box, and after a failed clearance from Yann Bisseck, the ball fell to João Mario who was able to double the hosts’ lead. Yes, João Mario was on a hat-trick against Inter less than 15 minutes into the match.

Inter’s best chance of the first-half came in the 26th minute when Davide Frattesi was able to put Marko Arnautović through on goal, whose effort was saved by Anatoliy Trubin- and would have been called back for offside had it resulted in a goal.

Things went from bad to worse for the guests as, in the 34th minute, Casper Tengstedt put a cross in and, despite 7 (!!!!) Inter players in the box, found a completely open…João Mario. Yes, João Mario had a first-half Champions League hat-trick against Inter.

At the beginning of the second half, it only took Inter 5 minutes to get on the score-sheet. Alexis Sánchez whipped in a corner that Yann Bisseck flicked on and found Marko Arnautović at the back post for an easy tap-in. After a brief VAR check, the goal was given and the Austrian forward had his first in Inter colours.

Less than 10 minutes later, Francesco Acerbi put in a cross that found Davide Frattesi in the box and volleyed home a sublime finish. Inter were truly back in this match, only 15 minutes into the second half.

Just moments after being substituted on in the 68th minute, Marcus Thuram was spearheading a counter-attack thanks to a ball from Davide Frattesi- winning a penalty by driving into the box and being taken down by Nicolás Otamenti. Alexis Sánchez sent the keeper the wrong way and completed Inter’s comeback, now level with Benfica.

In the 81st minute, Benfica defender António Silva was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Nicolò Barella. The Italian international went on to hit the post deep into stoppage time, nearly winning the match for Inter.

Following a rollercoaster of a match and many mixed emotions throughout, here is how we have rated the individual performances of our players.

Player Ratings

Emil Audero – 5.5

Conceded 3 goals in the first half, one of which he may have been able to do better on, the other 2 not so much. Made some important saves in the second half to prevent a loss.

Yann Bisseck – 6.5

A costly error in the first half to concede Benfica’s second goal, but made up for it with a sort-of assist as well as bouncing back strongly defensively in the second half with many clutch tackles.

Stefan de Vrij (C) – 6

Mostly solid in his defending, completed nearly all of his passes and won the majority of his duels. Solid performance from Inter’s captain on the day.

Francesco Acerbi – 6

Found himself making Alessandro Bastoni-esque forward runs, although sometimes getting caught out of position. Wonderful assist to Davide Frattesi on Inter’s second goal.

Matteo Darmian – 5.5

Another shift full of hard-work and evident effort. No particular mistakes but difficult to get into the match playing beside several ‘new’ players.

Davide Frattesi – 7

Always a work-horse, running hard and set up several potential chances for Inter. Scored a class volley, as well as kick-starting the play that won a penalty for Inter.

Kristjan Asllani – 4.5

Seemed to be trying to do too much. Got caught when dribbling out of pressure to lead to Benfica’s second goal. Needs to improve his decision-making.

Davy Klaassen – 4.5

Essentially invisible, had no real impact on the match. Disappointing.

Carlos Augusto – 5.5

Not the greatest defensively, but led a few strong counter-attacks. Had 2-3 shots on goal, 1 particularly dangerous.

Alexis Sánchez – 6

Seemingly invisible in the first half- but that was a particularly bad display from Inter. Second half improved as the rest of the team did. Scored Inter’s third goal, thanks to a penalty won by Marcus Thuram.

Marko Arnautović – 6.5

Missed a big chance in the first half, but redeemed himself by scoring his first for the club just minutes into the second half. Was in the right place at the right time.


Marcus Thuram – 7

Won a penalty and brought a missing spark to Inter’s attack.

Juan Cuadrado – 6

Made good attacking runs and sent in several dangerous crosses.

Nicolo Barella – 6.5

Lucky not to suffer an injury after a red card tackle. Hit the post late in stoppage time.

Federico Dimarco – 6

Provided an added sense of maturity and worked hard.

Lautaro Martínez – 5

Hardly involved in play, only touched the ball 4 times.