Inter defeated Atlético Madrid 1-0 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash on Tuesday, February 20.

Marko Arnautović sealed the match with a 79’ winner after complete domination from the hosts. Inter had numerous opportunities to widen the score but were quite unlucky to walk away with just one goal in the home leg. This match was highly anticipated, as two of Europe’s highest-rated managers, Simone Inzaghi and Diego Simeone, would be going head-to-head.

Inter lined up as anticipated and as follows (3-5-2): Sommer; Pavard, de Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Çalhanoğlu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Lautaro Martínez.

Atlético Madrid, with one change compared to the predictions, lined up as follows (5-3-2): Oblak; Molina, Witsel, Giménez, Hermoso, Lino; De Paul, Koke, Saúl; Llorente, Griezmann.

Atléti had the first chance, as Samuel Lino’s curling shot went just wide of Yann Sommer’s goal in the 13th minute. It was never going in, but a dangerous ball across Inter’s box nonetheless. Luckily, no Atlético players were waiting at the back post.

Minutes later, Stefan de Vrij found himself charging forward in Atlético’s half, leading the counter-attack. Marcus Thuram was just ahead of the Dutch international, but his pass was cut out by Axel Witsel, the last man back for Atléti.

The first effort on target from either side came in the 36th minute. Nicolò Barella’s cross was met in the air by Lautaro Martínez, but the header was straight towards Jan Oblak and the goalkeeper collected the ball easily.

Three minutes later, Marcus Thuram was able to collect a wayward pass by Rodrigo De Paul. The French forward sprinted forwards and played Lautaro Martínez in front of the opposition goal, but Inter’s number ten scuffed his shot. A rare mistake by Serie A’s top goalscorer this season.

Inter had one more chance before the whistle for halftime went. Lautaro Martínez exchanged passes with Marcus Thuram before the French international found Nicolò Barella. The Italian played Thuram again at the top of the box but his effort was overhit and sailed over the bar.

Just minutes into the second half, substitute Marko Arnautović was played in by a wonderful cross from Federico Dimarco. The Austrian had to stretch and slide to reach the pass, but miscued it and failed to hit the target.

In the 64th minute, it was Marko Arnautović again. The veteran forward was getting great chances, but failing to convert. The Austrian played a great give-and-go with Lautaro Martínez and bypassed the Atlético Madrid defence, but again could not get his shot on target.

Ten minutes later, Jan Oblak pulled off another great save to deny Lautaro Martínez in the air again! Çalhanoğlu whipped in a fantastic cross straight to the head of Lautaro, but Oblak was able to react in time to keep the match level.

In the 79th minute of play, two Atlético Madrid players miscommunicated and neither collected the ball. Inter substitute Davide Frattesi was able to play a one-touch pass to put Lautaro Martínez through on goal. The argentine is denied again by an incredible one-on-one save from Jan Oblak, but luckily, Marko Arnautović is there on the follow-up and slots the ball into the goal- squeezing past Oblak trying to recover and another Atlético Madrid defender!

Atlético Madrid had some minor chances towards the end of the game but amounted to nothing as the visitors were unable to register even a single shot on target against Inter.

Following a tense win, here is how we have rated the individual performances from Inter tonight.

Player Ratings

Yann Sommer – 6.5

Again, a relatively easy cleansheet as Atlético Madrid did not have a single shot on target. Decent in his distribution.

Benjamin Pavard – 7

Another classy and strong performance from the French international.

Stefan de Vrij – 7

Properly dealt with Antoine Griezmann as Atlético Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer was completely nulled out.

Alessandro Bastoni – 7

Wonderful and strong defensive performance, while showing his qualities of going forward.

Matteo Darmian – 5.5

Showing signs of slowing down in the RWB position. With Denzel Dumfries fit again, should always be the starter. Darmian is a class option, but better as a RCB or option off the bench.

Nicolò Barella – 7.5

A complete, dominant midfield display today. Needed a big performance from a player who is capable of performing at the highest levels, and he delivered. Bossed the pitch.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu – 6

Started slow, misplacing passes and taking heavy touches, but settled into the match.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5.5

Very off game for the veteran midfielder. Final ball was lacking in the first half especially, gave away two potential opportunities in quick succession by making the wrong pass.

Federico Dimarco – 6.5

Created chances on the left side, putting in several top crosses for attackers waiting in the box.

Marcus Thuram – 6.5

Very active during the first half before being substituted at half-time due to injury. Created chances in attack and was even helping by tracking back on defence.

Lautaro Martínez (C) – 6.5

Unlucky with his finishing today, but got himself into very good areas and created opportunities for himself. Denied several times by great saves from Jan Oblak.


Marko Arnautović – 6.5

Was having a nightmare game finishing-wise before his goal. Redeeming factor: created chances for himself and worked hard, similar to Lautaro Martínez. 

Denzel Dumfries – 7

We all love Matteo Darmian, but Dumfries provides so much more at RWB. Absolutely bullied Atléti’s Samuel Lino and created many chances.

Carlos Augusto – 6.5

Did very well upon entering the pitch. Defended well and even provided fresh legs in attack. One particular tackle on Antoine Griezmann stands out, strong performance.

Davide Frattesi – 6.5

Made a difference with his running and freshness against tired legs in midfield. Set up Lautaro Martínez with a quick pass before the goal.

Alexis Sánchez – N/A

Entered in the final minutes of the match, unable to rate his performance.