Inter Milan triumph in Champions League last-four derby against AC Milan
Inter Milan is well on their way to the Champions League final after a superb 2-0 victory against AC Milan in last night’s pulsating last-four derby at the San Siro.
Ahead of Tuesday’s second leg, Inter has taken control of the most significant Milan derby in years, thanks to goals from Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the opening 11 minutes. Despite Hakan Calhanoglu hitting the post and Dzeko squandering a prime opportunity early in the second half, Inter is heavily favored to make it to the pinnacle of Europe’s premier club competition, a feat they have not achieved since their triumph 13 years ago.
“Sometimes I don’t score goals and that’s all anyone talks about, but I also provide something else,” Dzeko shared with Prime Video after netting his third goal since January. “Today, I worked for the team, and that’s what was needed in such a significant match.”
Should they make it to the final, Inter would secure redemption for semifinal and quarterfinal defeats by Milan in 2003 and 2005, respectively. The victor in this clash will face either reigning champions Real Madrid or Manchester City in the June 10 final in Istanbul. The opening leg of that semifinal ended in a 1-1 draw in Spain yesterday.
With regards to being crowned European champions for the eighth time, Milan has their work cut out for them, particularly as they hope to have Rafael Leao available for the pivotal match next week. In Leao’s absence, Milan lacked a crucial offensive asset, enabling Inter to play more aggressively, knowing their adversaries were missing the Portugal winger’s pace.
“We conceded two quick goals, and against Inter, it’s tough to bounce back,” Milan defender Fikayo Tomori told Prime Video. “We’re disappointed, we could have done better, particularly at the start, but we need to believe if we want to reach the final.”
Nearly an hour before kick-off, a vibrant San Siro was almost at capacity, with both sets of supporters trading jeers and taunts before revealing the massive displays typical of these matches as the teams emerged. However, once the game began, it was clear that Inter was the dominant force, looking more relaxed and energetic on the back of five consecutive victories and the recent strong performance of their attacking line-up.
It took just eight minutes for Inter to break the deadlock with a stunning Dzeko goal. The Bosnian forward fended off Davide Calabria to skillfully volley Calhanoglu’s inswinging corner past Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Energized by their lead and the jubilant celebrations in the Curva Nord, Inter pressed further, and in the 11th minute, Mkhitaryan added their second goal. Federico Dimarco sprinted down the left flank, delivering a low cut-back that Lautaro Martinez initially left before Armenian midfielder Mkhitaryan fired home his fifth goal of the season.
Milan narrowly avoided falling three goals behind in just the first 15 minutes when Calhanoglu nearly silenced the jeers of his former fans with a long-range effort that agonizingly ricocheted off the post. Moments later, Martinez won a penalty, only for referee Jesus Gil Manzano to overturn the decision after consulting the pitch-side monitor.
In the 53rd minute, Dzeko missed a golden opportunity to all but secure the tie when he faced Maignan one-on-one. Soon after, as Milan fans unleashed a barrage of flares and pyrotechnics, Sandro Tonali struck the base of the post in despair. Unfortunately for Milan, this would be their last real opportunity, as Inter efficiently fended off their rivals for the remaining 30 minutes before basking in the adoration of their fans, who are eagerly anticipating a potential trip to Turkey.
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