REAL MADRID-INTER MILAN

Inter Milan preparing for Real Madrid visit without Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has banged in seven goals in seven games for Inter this season but is likely to miss the Champions League match at Real Madrid through injury.

Inter Milan preparing for Real Madrid visit without Lukaku
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Inter Milan are facing the prospect of travelling to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday without their most prolific striker, Romelu Lukaku, who is likely to miss the game against Zinedine Zidane’s Group B leaders with a muscle injury. Reports in Italy are erring on the side of pessimism regarding Lukaku’s chances of passing a late fitness test but Inter have said the final decision will be taken on Monday.

Antonio Conte lamented Inter’s lack of precision in front of goal in the 2-2 draw with Parma on Saturday after the home side racked up 25 shots during the game and the loss of the Belgium international, who has scored seven in seven games this season and has only failed to find the net in two fixtures will be keenly felt at the Alfredo di Stéfano.

Inter lacking options in Lukaku's absence

Against Parma, Conte played Ivan Perisic in a front two alongside Lautaro Martínez and the Croatian popped up with the equaliser in the 92nd minute but the Inter boss has a lack of options to replace Lukaku beyond Argentina striker Martínez. On the bench on Saturday were 21-year-old striker Andrea Pinamonti and reserve team forward Martín Satriano.

Lukaku scored 34 goals in 51 games last season after arriving from Manchester United, a tally only bettered by Ronaldo in a debut season at San Siro. Lautaro is struggling for form this season by hs own standards, with three goals in eight in all competitions, and the question for Conte is who best to partner the 23-year-old with against Madrid. Perisic is the leading candidate but Alexis Sánchez, who has missed Inter’s last three games after starting the season with goals in consecutive Serie A games, trained on Sunday and could be in line for a place on the bench in the Spanish capital at least.