Conte cautious with Lukaku as Sanchez still out for Inter

By Sports Desk October 30, 2020

Antonio Conte is not willing to take any risks with Romelu Lukaku as Inter prepare to host Parma without both the Belgian striker and Alexis Sanchez.

Lukaku played the entire game but suffered a thigh issue as Inter drew 0-0 with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, their first goalless draw in the competition since September 2009.

The 27-year-old had scored in nine straight European matches up until then, while he has already found the net five times in as many Serie A appearances at the start of the new campaign.

However, with a huge Champions League clash against Real Madrid looming on the horizon, plus a trip to Atalanta to come before the November international break, Conte is wary of pushing the player too hard despite his obvious importance to the team.

"Against Shakhtar he had a muscle problem, precisely when he kicked the free-kick," Conte said at his pre-match media conference on Friday. "He still has this.

"We need to recover in the best possible way. You know very well how important Romelu is for us, especially at a time when Sanchez is also missing.

"We are evaluating the situation and we try to act for the best of Inter.

"We are recovering some players from coronavirus, I have a lot of faith in everyone and I know we can do well and that we must do well anyway."

Sanchez, meanwhile, was withdrawn at half-time in Inter's Champions League opener with Borussia Monchengladbach on October 21 due to a thigh injury.

The Chile forward will once again be unavailable for this weekend, denying Conte another attacking option for the Serie A fixture.

Inter have not done well against Parma in recent home games either, failing to win any of the previous four matches at San Siro between the teams. 

"Sanchez is not ready. You have to wait for the doctors and the player to give the go ahead, because sometimes too much desire to play makes the player make the wrong decision," Conte said.

"You have to be patient and try to experience what happens, especially for the players because, as I said, the players have to take great responsibilities, they have to be aware of the situations.

"Forcing it can lead to negative consequences, both for them and the team."

Inter will be boosted by the expected return of Roberto Gagliardini, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

On the midfielder's status, Conte said: "Gagliardini is fine, he trained at home and, when he arrived with us, we did some checks. He is available and I'm happy to have him, because in midfield we had some problems since the international break."

Related items

  • MLS: Columbus, New England into Eastern Conference finals MLS: Columbus, New England into Eastern Conference finals

    Columbus Crew will face New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference finals after their respective wins in the MLS Cup play-offs on Sunday.

    Gyasi Zardes inspired Columbus in extra time of a 2-0 victory over Nashville.

    The United States international's cutback found Pedro Santos to score the opener for the hosts in the 99th minute.

    And, just four minutes later, Zardes sealed the win with a clinical finish in a one-on-one after being played in by Luis Diaz Espinoza.

    Zardes has been directly involved in seven goals (five goals and two assists) in four matches against expansion sides over the past two MLS seasons, according to Opta.

    It was enough for Columbus to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in four seasons, and New England await.

    After finishing eighth in the Eastern Conference, the Revolution beat Thierry Henry's Montreal Impact in the play-in round and stunned Philadelphia Union in the first round.

    They continued their run with a 3-1 win over Orlando City on Sunday.

    Carles Gil's 17th-minute penalty opened the scoring before Gustavo Bou made it 2-0.

    Junior Urso pulled a scrappy goal back for Orlando after the half-hour mark, but their hopes of victory were hurt by Mauricio Pereyra's red card for a dangerous challenge in the 60th minute.

    Still, Nani had a chance to equalise for Orlando in the 74th minute, only to see his penalty saved by Matt Turner.

    The penalty save was just the second by a Revolution goalkeeper from the previous 23 on-target spot-kicks they had faced dating back to March 2016, according to Opta.

    Instead, Bou got on the end of Gil's pass to poke in the sealer four minutes from time, sending New England to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2014.

  • Almost 400 passing yards per game to go with 14 touchdowns – Mahomes' magical November Almost 400 passing yards per game to go with 14 touchdowns – Mahomes' magical November

    Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes enjoyed a record-breaking November.

    The 2018 NFL MVP produced another dominant performance as Super Bowl champions the Chiefs overcame the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

    As the Chiefs improved to 10-1, Mahomes completed a magical November. This month, he completed 132 of 181 passes for 1,598 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception.

    As per Stats Perform, Mahomes averaged 399.5 passing yards per game in November. That is the most passing yards per game by any quarterback in a single month in NFL history (minimum four games played).

    Tyreek Hill caught three touchdown passes against the Buccaneers. Of Mahomes' 14 in November, eight were to Hill.

    We take a look at Mahomes' month.

    November 1 v New York Jets

    Unsurprisingly, the Jets were no match for Mahomes and the Chiefs at the start of the month.

    Mahomes went 31 of 42 for 416 yards and five touchdown passes in a 35-9 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

    He connected twice with Hill, throwing at least five TD passes in a game for the first time since late 2018.

    November 8 v Carolina Panthers

    Challenged by the Panthers, the Chiefs did enough to record a 33-31 win.

    With the Chiefs leading 20-17 entering the fourth quarter, the teams traded touchdowns, with Mahomes twice finding Hill.

    He finished with four touchdown passes, having completed 30 of 45 for 372 yards.

    November 22 v Las Vegas Raiders

    Seeking some revenge following their only loss of the season in October, the Chiefs found it thanks to Mahomes.

    They looked set for another defeat when Derek Carr found Jason Witten with a one-yard TD pass with less than two minutes remaining to put the Raiders ahead.

    But Mahomes led a seven-play, 75-yard drive in 75 seconds, completing it with a 22-yard pass to Travis Kelce to lift the Chiefs to a 35-31 victory.

    Mahomes completed 34 of 45 passes for 348 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

    November 29 v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Mahomes stepped up again as the Chiefs held off the Buccaneers 27-24 on Sunday.

    He completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns, outshining Tom Brady as the Chiefs improved to 10-1.

    Only once – against the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 – has Mahomes had more passing yards in a game, finishing that contest with 478.

    Hill was the star with 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns with the Chiefs holding on against Brady's Tampa Bay.

  • Warner's Test fate uncertain after withdrawing from short-format series against India Warner's Test fate uncertain after withdrawing from short-format series against India

    David Warner is in doubt for the upcoming Test series against India after withdrawing from the remainder of Australia's limited-overs matches.

    Warner suffered a groin strain as Australia clinched an ODI series victory over India thanks to Sunday's 51-run win in Sydney.

    The Australia star has returned home to begin rehabilitation ahead of the opening day-night Test in Adelaide on December 17.

    Warner will miss Wednesday's third and final ODI in Canberra, as well as the three-game Twenty20 series – D'Arcy Short the batsman's replacement.

    Pat Cummins, who has no injury concerns, will also sit out the short-format games, though no replacement has been called up for the paceman.

    "Pat and Davie are critical to our plans for the Test series," said Australia head coach Justin Langer.

    "Davie will work through his injury rehab and in Pat's case it is important all of our players are managed well to keep them mentally and physically fit throughout what is a challenging summer.

    "The priority for both is being fully prepared for one of the biggest and most important home Test series we have played in recent years, especially with World Test Championship points up for grabs."

    Australia recorded their biggest ODI score at the SCG after reaching 389-4, the country's second highest overall on home soil, as Steve Smith posted a 62-ball century.

    It was the highest total conceded by India in an ODI away from home – four of the five highest totals conceded have come at the hands of Australia, with three in Sydney.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.