Marko Arnautovic missed several sitters, but eventually gave Inter a precious 1-0 first leg Champions League Round of 16 lead over Atletico Madrid.

The second leg is at the Wanda Metropolitano on March 13.

The Nerazzurri had won all eight competitive games in 2024 and missed only Francesco Acerbi and Juan Cuadrado, so Stefan de Vrij stepped in. Former Juventus striker Alvaro Morata was only fit for the bench after spraining his knee on February 11, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Thomas Lemar out of action, so Marco Llorente moved to a centre-forward role.

Inter wore black armbands and there was a moment’s silence in honour of Scudetto winner Andy Brehme, who died today at the age of 63.

Marcus Thuram’s first touch let him down on an early Nicolò Barella roll across, while Samuel Lino curled wide and a Lautaro Martinez volley was deflected onto the arm of Nahuel Molina in a position the referee considered to be natural.

Thuram nodded down a long ball for Lautaro Martinez’s half-volley over the bar, but the first genuine shot on target was on 36 minutes, Lautaro’s glancing header from a Barella cross smothered by Jan Oblak.

Moments later, Thuram intercepted a wayward pass and rolled across for Lautaro Martinez, who clear on goal took a touch and scuffed the finish horribly.

Another promising counter saw Barella combine with Thuram for the Frenchman to drill from the edge of the area, again Oblak was right behind it.

During that move, Thuram pulled up with a right adductor issue and was replaced at half-time by Marko Arnautovic, while Atleti introduced Stefan Savic for Jose Maria Gimenez.

Arnautovic had a huge chance when Federico Dimarco rolled across from the left and he came sliding in to fire over from 12 yards.

The Austrian veteran also nodded a Matteo Darmian cross over when it was perhaps intended for Dimarco, but Atleti had two big scoring opportunities with Lino wide after a give and go with Rodrigo De Paul, then Stefan de Vrij getting back for a decisive tackle on Marcos Llorente bearing down on Yann Sommer.

Arnautovic missed a sitter on 63 minutes, as he combined with Lautaro Martinez to go clear on goal only to fire over from six yards.

The former Bologna striker also failed to get the tap-in on a Denzel Dumfries roll across the six-yard box, but Lautaro Martinez nodded the Hakan Calhanoglu cross into the arms of Oblak.

Inter did break the deadlock with 10 minutes to go, as a throw-in was not dealt with by Reinildo, Davide Frattesi allowing Lautaro Martinez to surge forward, his effort parried by Oblak, but only into the path of Arnautovic to score from a narrow angle, despite Lino’s attempts to clear off the line.

Lino tried to make up for it moments later, hitting a scorcher inches wide of the near post, while Alvaro Morata’s header was wide under pressure from De Vrij and then the ex-Juventus striker scuffed a finish after Sommer’s error.

Inter 1-0 Atletico Madrid

Arnautovic 79 (I)

Player statistic

2nd half
    53' Yellow card Mario Hermoso
Marko Arnautovic Goal 79'    
    82' Yellow card Stefan Savic
    85' Yellow card Álvaro Morata
Davide Frattesi Yellow card 86'    
Carlos Augusto Yellow card 90+4'    
    90+3' Yellow card Koke

Match statistic

56
Possession %
44
19
Total shots
7
5
Shots on target
7
Shots off target
6
7
Blocked shots
1
3
Corners
2
10
Fouls
16
Inter
Atl. Madrid

Starting lineups

1
Goalkeeper
95
28
Defender
32
Defender
69'
36
Defender
69'
6
Defender
20
Midfielder
22
Midfielder
72'
23
Midfielder
10
88'
9
Attacker
46'
13
Goalkeeper
2
46'
22
Defender
68'
16
Defender
68'
20
Midfielder
6
Midfielder
14
Midfielder
5
Midfielder
8
Midfielder
54'
7
78'
12
Attacker

Substitutes

21
Midfielder
77
Goalkeeper
14
Midfielder
17
Attacker
50
12
Goalkeeper
31
Defender
8
Attacker
46'
2
Defender
69'
30
Midfielder
69'
16
Midfielder
72'
70
Attacker
88'
4
Defender
9
Attacker
1
Goalkeeper
31
Goalkeeper
17
Attacker
18
Midfielder
15
Defender
46'
19
Attacker
54'
23
Defender
68'
24
Midfielder
68'
10
Attacker
78'

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