(Watch Video Highlights) Inter set up semi final showdown with city rivals AC Milan after 3-3 draw against Benfica

April 20th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Inter will face their city rivals Milan in the Champions League semi-final as Nicolò Barella, Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa scored wonderful goals, but were held 3-3 by Benfica.

The Nerazzurri had a 2-0 first leg lead to lean on and only Milan Skriniar injured, as Hakan Calhanoglu was back on the bench, but dismal recent Serie A form had the shadow of the sack hovering over Simone Inzaghi. Benfica had been unbeaten in Europe this season until that home loss, but came into this off three consecutive defeats in all competition. Nicolas Otamendi returned from his ban, with Jonathan Bah and Julian Draxler still out of action.

Lautaro Martinez over-hit a pass that would’ve sent Federico Dimarco clear, but they did break the deadlock with a well-worked move.

Edin Dzeko fought with Otamendi to win it in midfield, Lautaro Martinez flicked it on for Barella, who rode a tackle, cut inside and curled a magnificent left-foot finish into the far top corner.

Andre Onana was tested for the first time on 31 minutes by a long-range Chiquinho free kick, while Lautaro Martinez had a goal disallowed for a small nudge on Gilberto’s back before his header.

Inter conceded their first goal of the knockout stages when a Rafa Silva cross came in from the right and Fredrik Aursnes got in front of Dumfries for a powerful header under the crossbar. Both Matteo Darmian and Francesco Acerbi were pulled out of position, leaving a huge gap.

Lautaro Martinez fired just wide from a huge distance after the restart, then risked giving away a penalty for his clumsy tackle on Aursnes.

Dzeko nodded wide from a promising position, but Inter got their second when Dimarco completed a give and go with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and rolled across the six yard box where Lautaro Martinez just had to stroke into the roof of the net from four yards. It ended his nine-game goal drought.

Lautaro could’ve sent Dzeko clear on the counter soon after, but the pass was intercepted, while Dimarco had a shot charged down from the Dumfries pull-back.

Dimarco provided another assist for substitute Tucu Correa, who hadn’t scored since October and yet within minutes of coming off the bench had curled a right-foot stunner in off the inside of the far post.

David Neres threatened to get another when thumping the upright after a terrible Marcelo Brozovic giveaway and a consolation did come late on, Antonio Silva with a looping header on the Grimaldo free kick.

Pazza Inter reputation returned in stoppages as Petar Musa drilled in after a Grimaldo corner with practically the last kick of the game to avoid Benfica’s fourth consecutive defeat in all competition.

Photo Credit: inter_en/Twitter


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