Sheriff 1-3 Inter Milan: Sanchez nets as Nerazzurri move up to second in Group D
Inter Milan moved up to second in Champions League Group D with a 3-1 away victory over Sheriff on Wednesday.
The Serie A champions secured their first win of the campaign against Yuriy Vernydub's men a fortnight ago, and they followed that up with another to move to remain two points behind leaders Real Madrid, who beat Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the day.
Inter were unable to find a breakthrough in the first half despite carving out a host of chances, but they went ahead nine minutes after the restart thanks to Marcelo Brozovic's first goal of the season.
Milan Skriniar and Alexis Sanchez put the game beyond Sheriff, who scored a late consolation through Adama Traore, as Simone Inzaghi's side took a significant stride towards booking a spot in the last 16.
Inter had a flurry of chances shortly before the half-hour mark, Lautaro Martinez denied by a goalline clearance and goalkeeper Georgios Athanasiadis in quick succession, while Matteo Darmian whipped wide from inside the penalty area.
Athanasiadis had to be alert to deny Edin Dzeko soon after, before Martinez crashed against the post from distance as a dominant Inter went in at the interval having had 13 shots to their hosts' one.
Inter's relentless pressure did pay off in the 53rd minute, though, Brozovic coolly cutting onto his right foot and slamming into the bottom-left corner from 18 yards.
Skriniar prodded in from close range 12 minutes later after Athanasiadis had kept out Stefan de Vrij's header and the Slovakian defender's initial follow-up.
Sanchez added a third just 33 seconds after being introduced from the substitutes' bench in the 82nd minute, lashing home after a powerful run, before Traore headed a consolation in stoppage time for the Moldovan side.
What does it mean? Inter on course after slow start
After an inauspicious start, which saw them collect just one point from their opening two Group D games, back-to-back wins against Sheriff have put Inter on course to qualify for the knockout stages.
They have scored six goals against Sheriff in this season's Champions League – a tally they have never bettered against one team in a single campaign.
Sanchez makes immediate impact
Martinez, fresh from signing a new deal, was Inter's brightest spark, but his replacement was to steal the headlines. You would scarcely have been able to tell that Sanchez had yet to score this season, given the confident way he swatted aside the Sheriff defence and thumped home mere seconds after coming off the bench.
It was little surprise to see Darmian brought off at the break. The former Manchester United defender did not make a single key pass from his right wing-back position and had the second-worst passing accuracy figure (78.3 per cent) of any Inter starter.
Key Opta Facts
– Inter have recorded back-to-back Champions League victories for the first time since winning their opening two of the 2018-19 campaign.
– Sheriff are the first side to score in each of their first four Champions League matches since Hoffenheim back in 2018-19.
– After 15 matches without a goal in the competition, Sanchez netted his first Champions League goal since February 2017, when he scored for Arsenal against Bayern Munich.
– Skriniar's strike made him the first Slovakian to score a Champions League goal in almost three years, since Marek Hamsik for Napoli back in November 2018.
Inter face huge Serie A showdowns with city rivals Milan and Napoli before a Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on November 24, the same day Sheriff host Real Madrid.