Antonio Conte said he has nothing to "reproach" his Inter players for despite needing a 90th-minute equaliser from Romelu Lukaku to salvage a 2-2 Champions League draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Inter appeared to be on their way to victory courtesy of Lukaku's first goal shortly after the interval, but a Ramy Bensebaini penalty and a late strike from Jonas Hofmann looked to have sealed all three points for the visiting Bundesliga side on Wednesday.

Lukaku bundled in from close range in the closing stages, though, to snatch a share of the spoils for Inter, who lost Alexis Sanchez to an adductor injury at half-time in the Group B showdown in Milan midweek.

Inter netted a 90th-minute equaliser in their opening group-stage game for the second consecutive Champions League campaign, while the Nerazzurri have only won one of their last six opening Champions League fixtures.

Inter head coach Conte refused to be too hard on his players and said the loss of full-back Achraf Hakimi due to a positive coronavirus test shortly before the game had a significant impact on his side's preparations. 

"We have to concentrate on doing our best on the pitch," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "That's all we have to do. It wasn't easy today to receive the news at 5pm that Hakimi was positive. 

"Up until this morning, he was training with us. He was meant to start, so we'd prepared all the tactical situations.

"I told the lads to face every situation with heads held high. It wasn't easy on a psychological level, but the lads showed they are good men as well as good players.

"Tonight we did well against a team with a great deal of potential, one that has technical quality as well as physicality.

"I don't remember a Samir Handanovic save, whereas we had the chances to win the game. I have nothing to reproach the lads for.

"Inevitably, we can improve in some situations where there are errors and we have to work on whittling those down."

Lukaku cut a frustrated figure despite his late equaliser and said Inter need to show more resilience after their winless run was extended to three games in all competitions.

The Belgian star has now scored in each of his last nine European fixtures across the Champions League and Europa League (11), extending the longest-ever such run by a player for Inter.

"This is not a good result in my view, because we can do better," he said. "We must keep working and be stronger mentally because it's not an easy moment for us and we have to keep believing in our quality. 

"Now we need to be stronger, above all mentally, and do better in defence, as we conceded two goals due to our errors. We made so many mistakes and wasted chances up front too, so if we don't take those we are made to pay at this level."

Inter star Achraf Hakimi has tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Wednesday's Champions League group match against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Hakimi is "totally asymptomatic" after his diagnosis emerged from the latest round of UEFA tests ahead of the Group B contest at San Siro.

The 21-year-old, in his first season at Inter after a superb spell with Borussia Dortmund, has played in all four of his team's Serie A matches this season, including their 2-1 loss in Saturday's Milan derby.

Hakimi will now enter a period of quarantine and can only come back once he has returned a negative result.

"Achraf Hakimi has tested positive in the latest round of UEFA checks (required by hygiene protocols) undertaken ahead of tonight's game against Borussia Monchengladbach," Inter said in a statement.

"The Inter full-back is totally asymptomatic and will now follow the procedure set out by the health protocol."

Inter have had to deal with a host of positive results in recent weeks. 

Alessandro Bastoni and Radja Nainggolan have recovered while Ashley Young, Roberto Gagliardini, Ionut Radu and Milan Skriniar are among those still waiting for the all-clear to return.

Reported Real Madrid target Houssem Aouar has the talent to one day play at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Zinedine Zidane has little interest speculating about the final days of the transfer window.

Lyon midfielder Aouar, who starred in their run to last season's Champions League semi-finals, has been linked with both Madrid and Arsenal.

The window closes on Monday, though, and Zidane - while acknowledging Aouar's talent - is looking forward to having the distraction of out the way.

"I don't know what information you have," Zidane responded at a news conference ahead of Madrid's trip to Levante. "I have no doubt about this player, he is a great player.

"Maybe one day he could play for Madrid, but today we have this squad and my concern is the players I have now. As of October 5, there will be no such questions."

Madrid are yet to make a single signing in this window, yet the focus in recent days has been on a man they let go.

Achraf Hakimi was allowed to join Inter after an impressive loan with Borussia Dortmund and rival right-backs Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola have both gone down injured in the past two days.

Carvajal has damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and could reportedly face two months out, while back-up Odriozola then sustained a calf issue.

Zidane is now without a recognised option on that side of the defence but would not reflect differently on Hakimi's departure.

"These are things that can happen in a squad," he explained. "We have to count on other players. We can't look for excuses."

The pair join winger Eden Hazard on the injury list, Madrid's number seven suffering a muscle injury late last month as he sought to return to fitness after a tough first season in Spain.

Zidane is not concerned Hazard's repeated problems will mean he does not come back the same player, though.

"I am positive about everything, including Hazard," the coach said. "Plus this was a muscle injury from having worked hard to return.

"I don't like [injures], because I like having everyone available, but they are things that can happen. It just bothers me that players can't play."

Romelu Lukaku claimed a brace while new signing Achraf Hakimi scored one and made another as Inter coasted to a 5-2 Serie A victory at Filippo Inzaghi's Benevento.

Antonio Conte's side needed two goals in the final three minutes to begin their campaign with a thrilling 4-3 win against Fiorentina, and while they found the net frequently again, this triumph was much more straightforward.

Lukaku scored twice in the opening 28 minutes, either side of Roberto Gagliardini's effort, before newly promoted Benevento pulled one back through Gianluca Caprari.

Yet Hakimi and substitute Lautaro Martinez also found the net as Conte comprehensively won the battle of the former Juve team-mates, despite a second Caprari goal late on.

Inter had fallen behind within three minutes against Fiorentina on Saturday, but this time they were the ones that raced out of the blocks.

A long raking pass from Aleksandar Kolarov reached Hakimi and, after a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, he crossed for Lukaku to find the net just 28 seconds in.

Hakimi, making his full debut for the Nerazzurri, was then involved in his side's second when his deep delivery found Ashley Young, whose lay-off was emphatically smashed home by Gagliardini.

The midfielder then turned provider for Inter's third after being gifted possession by Lorenzo Montipo, with Lukaku only needing to sort his feet out before being left with a simple finish.

Montipo's opposite number Samir Handanovic made a similar error in passing straight to Caprari, who pulled one back for Benevento, but Hakimi stole in ahead of Luca Caldirola to restore Inter's three-goal cushion.

The home side should have conceded five in the first period but Arturo Vidal missed the target with a close-range header, and Benevento improved after the break, Gabriele Moncini hitting the post shortly after the restart.

Yet the woodwork denied Gagliardini too before a fifth and final Inter goal came courtesy of substitute Martinez 19 minutes from time.

Caprari at least made the final margin of defeat less severe with his second, though Inter could have had a six as Ivan Perisic somehow fired wide from Hakimi's cross and Christian Eriksen hit the bar.

Achraf Hakimi says Antonio Conte’s "extraordinary passion" was one of the motivating factors behind his decision to join Inter. 

The 21-year-old joined the Serie A side in July for a reported €40million from Spanish champions Real Madrid, signing a five-year contract. 

The Spain-born Morocco international spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing last term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga last season – the best of any defender.

Conte guided Inter to a second-place finish in his maiden campaign and Hakimi is licking his lips at the prospect at playing under the 51-year-old. 

"I chose Inter because I think the coach's style is particularly suited to my way of playing and I can be of real help to this team," he said in a Q&A hosted on Inter's social media channels. "We'll try to achieve great results and certainly aim to win the Scudetto.

"Conte is a great coach, with a very competitive spirit. He has this extraordinary passion for football and transmits that to his players, fans, and everyone around the club. His motivation allows the side to be fired up for every game.

"I already played 3-5-2 at Borussia Dortmund. When the offer came, I thought this was a great opportunity for me to grow, as the fans here experience football in such a special way. I have joined a great club."

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal. 

He believes his two-year spell in the Bundesliga improved him as a player and hopes the experience will help him navigate a more "tactical league".

"Playing in Germany allowed me to mature as a player, gain experience and confidence," he added. "It was a wonderful experience; now I will go into a more tactical league like Serie A.

"Our objective is to win the Scudetto, make the fans happy, then go forward in the Champions League and do even better than last season.

"I am here to give my best, so we'll do great things together and try to win some trophies!"

Zidane explained why Achraf Hakimi was being sold hours before he sealed his Inter Milan move.

Achraf Hakimi has joined Inter in a permanent move from Real Madrid, the Italian club confirmed.

Hakimi, 21, has reportedly cost Antonio Conte's side an initial €40million and he joins on a five-year contract.

A statement issued by Madrid read: "The club wants to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he came to our academy in 2006 and wishes him good luck in his new phase."

The Spain-born Morocco international has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing this term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga this term – the best of any defender.

Dortmund were not shy about their desire to see Hakimi remain at Signal Iduna Park, but the writing appeared to be on the wall when BVB confirmed the capture of Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain following reports of Inter closing in on their target.

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal.

He was sent out on a two-year loan to Dortmund and, although he enjoyed a wonderful 2019-20 in Germany, there are those who are unconvinced by his defensive qualities, particularly in a back four.

Similarly, Hakimi's contract with Madrid was due to expire in 2021, and a potential unease at being behind Carvajal in the pecking order again could have given rise to the possibility of losing him for free next year.

Their loss is Inter's gain, however, as Conte finally gets his hands on a world-class wing-back, having had Ashley Young, Victor Moses, Antonio Candreva, Cristiano Biraghi and Kwadwo Asamoah as his options in 2019-20.

Achraf Hakimi has said his goodbyes to Borussia Dortmund as the Real Madrid full-back moves ever closer to joining Inter.

Nerazzurri chief executive Beppe Marotta confirmed over the weekend that a deal was on the verge of being struck for the 21-year-old, who reportedly arrived in Milan for a medical on Tuesday.

Hakimi has been a star for Dortmund this season, having joined on a two-year loan from LaLiga giants Madrid in 2018.

And he said a fond farewell to the Bundesliga club ahead of his proposed switch to Serie A.

"The time has come to close a very beautiful stage in my life. After two wonderful years, I'm ready to leave this club that has given me so much joy," Hakimi wrote on Twitter and Instagram.

"From the first moment, the care and attention by the club and the city has been amazing. Now I know that I was right to choose Dortmund as my home two years ago.

"I want to thank all my teammates, the coaching staff, and all the club's staff for the love and trust they have shown me at all times.

"I also want to thank the wonderful fans who have supported us unconditionally in every game.

"I'll never forget the yellow wall (Glebe Wand) which is simply wonderful.

"Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me at all times.

"I hope that one day our paths will cross again. See you soon Borussia Dortmund!"

Inter are in advanced negotiations over a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Nerazzurri chief executive Beppe Marotta has confirmed.

Hakimi has been a star for Borussia Dortmund this season, having joined on a two-year loan from LaLiga giants Madrid in 2018.

However, Dortmund confirmed on Saturday that Hakimi would not be staying on permanently, with Thomas Meunier having already been brought in to bolster Lucien Favre's options at right-back.

Now, Hakimi appears to be set to move to Inter, with Marotta confirming reports that a deal is close to being struck, with sporting director Piero Ausilio handling the deal for the Serie A club.

"We are in an advanced phase of negotiation and we see what will happen in the next few days," Marotta told Sky Italia prior to Inter's clash with Parma on Sunday.

"I want there to be great respect towards those players who are working and playing in this complex period. Then we also look to the future and for the future we want to raise the bar.

"[It's a] very, very important operation. I must say that Ausilio did an excellent job. Now we have yet to finish everything, but Ausilio has done everything in the past two months and tomorrow will be an important day."

Morocco full-back Hakimi, 21, scored nine goals in all competitions for Dortmund in 2019-20.

Borussia Dortmund will not be making Achraf Hakimi's loan move from Real Madrid permanent after Los Blancos' asking price was increased, seemingly allowing Inter a free run at the Moroccan.

Hakimi has spent two seasons at Signal Iduna Park and enjoyed a particularly good campaign in 2019-20, scoring five times and setting up another 10 Bundesliga goals prior to Saturday's clash with Hoffenheim.

That contest now seems to be Hakimi's final opportunity to pull on the Dortmund jersey should he be introduced from the bench in the club's last game of the season.

Media reports linking Hakimi with Inter have intensified this week, with the Serie A club rumoured to be closing in on a deal with Madrid worth an initial €40million.

Dortmund have not been shy in declaring their desire to see Hakimi remain at the club, but the writing appeared to be on the wall when they confirmed the capture of Thomas Meunier on Thursday, and now sporting director Michael Zorc seems to have accepted defeat.

"There have been developments only this week," Zorc told Sky Deutschland.

"The price is much higher now, and there is point where we have to say 'we do not want this and we cannot do this'."

Hakimi, 21, could yet return to Madrid and challenge Dani Carvajal for a place at right-back.

However, his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu expires next year and that could lead to the possibility of losing him on a free transfer if he was to grow frustrated at not being first-choice in Madrid.

Similarly, Hakimi has thrived as a wing-back ahead of a back-three this term. While that is not a setup Madrid are known to adopt, Inter coach Antonio Conte does.

Achraf Hakimi appears to have found a new home.

The Morocco international has impressed during his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, attracting plenty of interest.

But LaLiga giants Real Madrid are reportedly ready to cash in on Achraf.

 

TOP STORY – INTER AGREE ACHRAF DEAL

Inter have agreed a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Achraf has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, who have been interested in signing the Morocco international permanently.

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been among the clubs interested in Achraf, but Madrid are set to sell the 21-year-old to Antonio Conte's Inter for a reported €40million fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport1 claims Leroy Sane's proposed move to Bayern Munich is on hold until 2021. The Manchester City star is tipped to leave the Etihad Stadium for Bundesliga champions Bayern, though the two clubs have been unable to strike a deal. Sane now looks likely to depart once his contract expires next year.

Arthur will travel to Turin in the coming days to undergo a medical ahead of his move to Juventus, according to RAC1. Barcelona midfielder Arthur is set to join Juve, with Miralem Pjanic moving in the opposite direction.

Roma are plotting a move for free agent Edinson Cavani, says Calciomercato. Cavani is available on a free transfer after leaving PSG, with Atletico Madrid, Inter and Napoli eyeing the Uruguayan forward.

- Sport reports the Champions League will determine Neymar's future at PSG. Neymar has long been linked with a return to Barca following his world-record departure in 2017.

- Calciomercato says Milan are focused on signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. However, PSG and Arsenal are also among the teams eyeing the 19-year-old Hungarian.

Manchester United are among the possible destinations for Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who faces an uncertain future with the London club, according to L'Equipe.

Borussia Dortmund remain in "close contact" with Real Madrid regarding the future of on-loan wing-back Achraf Hakimi despite reports Inter are close to agreeing a fee with Los Blancos.

The Spain-born Morocco international has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Dortmund, particularly impressing this season when deployed as a right-sided wing-back.

Hakimi has a haul of five goals and 10 assists in the league this term, making him the most productive defender in the division from an attacking perspective.

Dortmund have not been shy about their desire to see Hakimi remain at Signal Iduna Park, with sporting director Michael Zorc saying he was hopeful of finding a "solution" on Thursday.

Media reports claiming Inter and Madrid are close to agreeing a deal worth an initial €40million have since intensified, but Dortmund do not appear to be accepting defeat just yet.

"We know what we can and cannot do in the Hakimi case," Zorc told Sport1. "We are in close contact with Real Madrid. He's still our player for a few days."

Dortmund are due to play their final match of the season at home to Hoffenheim on Saturday, with Hakimi potentially pulling on BVB's yellow and black jersey for the last time.

Hansi Flick hit out at the "so-called experts" who do not see the value in Thiago Alcantara as he reiterated his desire to keep the Bayern Munich midfielder.

Thiago's contract with Bayern runs out in 2021, and while the club have extended the deals of others such as Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer, they have so far been unsuccessful in convincing the Spaniard to follow suit.

Given the form of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka at the base of the Bayern midfield since the season resumed last month, some fans may be wondering if Thiago's extension is imperative.

The 29-year-old, who is currently out injured with a groin problem, is not renowned for his scoring prowess - having found the net just three times in 24 Bundesliga appearances this term - and he has not registered an assist in a campaign that has seen Bayern win an eighth straight title.

However, as a ball-playing central midfielder who came through Barcelona's famed La Masia academy, Thiago's qualities are obvious to Flick, who remains desperate to keep him despite links with newly crowned Premier League champions Liverpool.

"There is no [contract] news. We always talk, almost every day, but there is no news," Flick told a news conference before Bayern's final Bundesliga game of the season against Wolfsburg.

"I see him every day at practice and at the games. There are always so-called experts who have their own opinions. When you see him on the pitch and in training, you see his extraordinary quality in possession of the ball.

"But he has now also shown that he can play against the ball. For me there are no two opinions about Thiago's quality.

"He is an exceptional player who gives a team that certain something. That's my opinion and there is no other one."

The focus is not just on potential outgoings at Bayern Munich, who are expected to be Leroy Sane's next destination after it was confirmed he would be departing Manchester City either this year or next.

Bayern have also been linked with a move for Real Madrid right-back Achraf Hakimi, who has spent the past two seasons on loan with rivals Borussia Dortmund.

A third campaign at Signal Iduna Park looks unlikely given BVB signed Thomas Meunier on Thursday, yet, amid suggestions Hakimi could be bound for Inter, Flick would not be drawn on Bayern's possible interest.

"He is currently under contract at Dortmund and I think he still belongs to Real Madrid," Flick added.

"Therefore, I don't have to worry about that. It's very difficult at the moment anyway concerning transfers. That's why I would like to stay out of it.

"Hasan [Salihamidzic, Bayern sporting director] and I are in a very good exchange. I have every confidence that we will have a very good team for the new season."

Lucien Favre will remain at Borussia Dortmund next season and sporting director Michael Zorc hopes to tie Giovanni Reyna down to a new contract.

Dortmund's failure to dethrone Bayern Munich for the second straight campaign, having been in strong positions on both occasions, led to questions about Favre's future.

The Swiss coach has one year left on his contract but Zorc said BVB will head into 2020-21 unchanged, with talks over a possible extension to follow.

"We will go into the next season with the same [management] line-up and want to attack once more," said Zorc at a news conference to preview their final game of the Bundesliga season against Hoffenheim on Saturday.

"We have a good, trusting relationship and will conduct the talks in due course."

Reyna, 17, made his first Bundesliga start against RB Leipzig last weekend and set up Erling Haaland for the opening goal in a 2-0 victory that ensured BVB will finish the season in second.

The United States Under-17 international, who has a contract until June 2021, has impressed in his first campaign with the senior team and is in line for an extension.

"Lucien and I very much agree about Gio. We believe he has a good and bright future ahead of him," said Zorc.

"We are in good discussions with him about tying him to BVB for as long as possible as soon as he turns 18.

"This is a success story that we want to continue."

Dortmund are expected to add Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier to their squad for next season on a free transfer.

However, Zorc still hopes to agree a deal with Real Madrid that will see right-back Achraf Hakimi spend a third straight year at Signal Iduna Park.

"We are interested in finding another solution with Real Madrid and him, so he can play for BVB again next season," he said.

Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to make the move to Camp Nou.

The Inter forward is at the top of Barcelona's list of targets as the Spanish giants eye a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

But Inter are not making things easy for Barca.

 

TOP STORY – INTER NOT BUDGING OVER MARTINEZ

Inter are standing firm over Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, according to Sky Sport Italia.

LaLiga champions Barca are determined to sign the Argentina forward but Inter are unwilling to budge on their demands – either pay his €111million release clause or splash €90-95m plus a player chosen by the Serie A club. 

The same network claims Inter loanee  Alexis Sanchez  could renew his loan deal from Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

Inter are interested in Real Madrid full-back Achraf Hakimi, reports Calciomercato. Achraf, who has spent the past two seasons on loan at Dortmund, has been linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and others. Inter are admirers of the Morocco international but remain some way off luring him to Milan.

- The Times says Chelsea are prepared to sell star midfielder N'Golo Kante to raise funds for extra transfers. Madrid are thought to be keen on the Frenchman as Chelsea look to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.

Napoli have reached a "total agreement" with Lille for defender Gabriel Magalhaes, says Footmercato. The Brazilian centre-back has also been linked to Everton and Tottenham.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio reports Fiorentina are battling Milan and Everton for outgoing PSG defender Thiago Silva, who is a free agent.

Milan have been mooted as the most likely destination for Naby Keita as Liverpool consider selling the former RB Leipzig midfielder, according to Milan Live.

David Alaba to leave Bayern Munich? The Telegraph claims the Bundesliga champions are open to a sale, alerting the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, United and PSG.

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