April 13, 2024

Inter 1-0 AC Milan: Inter book place in Champions League final

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A goal from Lautaro Martinez was enough for Inter to beat AC Milan in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi final at San Siro.

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A goal from Lautaro Martinez was enough for Inter to beat AC Milan in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semi final at San Siro.

The 1-0 second leg win, coupled with the 2-0 win last week, means that Inter have booked their place in their first Champions League final since 2010.

The first notable shot on goal was a rather audacious one from Theo Hernandez which left Andre Onana stone-footed. The Inter goalkeeper was spared being the butt of a million ‘Greatest Champions League Goals EVER’ highlight packages however as Theo’s effort from fully 30-yards dipped just over the crossbar.

Onana then came to Inter’s rescue five minutes later after Sandro Tonali had teed up an unmarked Brahim Diaz with a pull-back cross. The keeper read Diaz’s first-time side-footed effort well, diving quickly down to his left to gather the ball.

After a rather boring lull midway through the half, Rafael Leao took matters into his own hands to pick up the entertainment value of proceedings in the 37th minute. The Portuguese international atypically burst down the left flank, beat his man on the left of the penalty area to create space for a shot on goal, but his resulting effort dribbled just wide of the post.

Inter responded to create their best chance of the game thus far almost immediately afterwards, with Mike Maignan being forced into a brilliant reflex save by a Hakan Calhanoglu set piece which picked up pace from a deflection off of Davide Calabria’s head.

The token ‘home side’ Inter were surprisingly untested defensively for most of the second half, with Milan really struggling to get the likes of Leao into the game.

Lautaro Martinez would then make Inter’s unassailable lead even more unassailable with a goal in the 73rd minute of the game.

After being played through on on the left of the penalty area by substitute Romelu Lukaku, the Argentine cannoned the ball underneath Maignan and into the back of the net.

That goal would lead to Milan heads fully dropping, with Stefano Pioli’s men well, and deservedly, beaten over the two legs at San Siro.


Inter player ratings

GK – Andre Onana – 7/10 – Made a crucial save early one.

CB – Matteo Darmian – 6/10 – He didn’t have as hard a time of it as you’d expect when up against Leao.

CB – Francesco Acerbi – 7/10 – Comfortably dealt with Giroud again.

CB – Alessandro Bastoni – 6/10 – Milan’s right flank didn’t gave a sniff all evening.

RM – Denzel Dumfries – 6/10 – Got forward well throughout.

CM – Nicolo Barella – 8/10 – Wholly dominated in the middle of the park.

CM – Hakan Calhanoglu – 7/10 – Another very good outing for the in-form midfielder.

CM – Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6/10 – Put in a shift until he was subbed off with an injury.

LM – Federico Dimarco – 6/10 – Worked hard.

ST – Lautaro Martinez – 9/10 – Scored a famous goal and was generally very, very good.

ST – Edin Dzeko – 6/10 – Held up play well.


Substitutes

Marcelo Brozovic – 7/10 – Inter were so, so composed in the middle when he came on.

Romelu Lukaku – 7/10 – Came on and set up a goal. His good form continues.

Robin Gosens – N/A.

Joaquin Correa – N/A.

Roberto Gagliardini – N/A.


Manager – Simone Inzaghi – 10/10 – Fielded the exact same team as the first leg, and guided Inter to a first Champions League final since 2010 by doing so. He’s done a wonderful job at San Siro.


Milan player ratings

GK – Mike Maignan – 6/10 – Made a good save in the first half, but perhaps should’ve done better with Martinez’s goal.

RB – Davide Calabria – 5/10 – The Milan captain didn’t get forward enough.

CB – Malik Thiaw – 6/10 – Battled well against Dzeko.

CB – Fikayo Tomori – 6/10 – A much-improved performances after a very underwhelming first leg showing.

LB – Theo Hernandez – 5/10 – Nearly scored the goal of the season in the first half. After that, he didn’t do a whole lot.

CM – Sandro Tonali – 7/10 – Milan’s best player. He gave it a real go but it wasn’t to be.

CM – Rade Krunic – 2/10 – Non-existent.

RM – Junior Messias – 3/10 – A Serie A player, but he simply isn’t good enough to play at this level.

AM – Brahim Diaz – 3/10 – Missed the chance.

LM – Rafael Leao – 5/10 – Quite clearly not fit enough to play, but played anyways.

ST – Olivier Giroud – 4/10 – Acerbi bested him once again.


Substitutes

Pierre Kalulu – 5/10.

Alexis Saelemaekers – N/A.

Divock Origi – N/A.


Manager – Stefano Pioli – 6/10 – He had to play Leao, and it didn’t pay off. Now the focus needs to be on sorting out Milan’s rather woeful recent league form.

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