Saturday 24 February 2018

Lille out to heap misery on struggling Inter

Michel Tettard

Lille will be looking to capitalise on Inter Milan's recent struggles when the sides meet in their Champions League Group B clash tonight.

Trabzonspor lead the group, followed by Inter. Lille sit third, ahead of CSKA Moscow.

Lille could have been top of the group, but they blew leads of 2-0 to draw 2-2 with CSKA Moscow and 1-0 to draw 1-1 with Trabzonspor.

The French club now needs a victory over the 2010 European champions to make up ground.

Lille will go into the match high on confidence. In four Champions League seasons they have not lost at home in the group stage. They beat Auxerre 3-1 Saturday in the French league to remain unbeaten in their last 10 matches in all competitions.

Inter, meanwhile, look a shadow of the team that won a historic treble in 2010. Their form has dipped and they now have the most porous defence in Serie A.

Inter's ugly start to the season continues despite replacing Gian Piero Gasperini with Claudio Ranieri as manager last month.

Lille may look to exploit the aging legs of Inter's defenders -- Lucio, Maicon, Cristian Chivu, Walter Samuel and Javier Zanetti are all in their 30s -- with the pace of Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard.

Samuel is sidelined but Chivu, playmaker Wesley Sneijder and 'keeper Julio Cesar could return from injury.

In the other match, surprise leaders Trabzonspor visit Moscow. CSKA sit in the Russian league behind Zenit St Petersburg and will rely on Ivory Coast international Seydou Doumbia to lead them to the knockout stage.

Doumbia has scored eight goals in their last nine matches in all competitions. They will be without injured 'keeper Igor Akinfeev and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Liberian midfielder Sekou Oliseh is also out after picking up a hamstring injury last week.

CSKA v Trabzonspor, Sky Sp 2, 5.0

Lille v Inter, Sky Sp 4 (Red Button), 7.45

Irish Independent

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