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Champions League: Milan derby awaits in the Semi-finals

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Inter Milan 3-3 Benfica; Champions League
Inter forward Lautaro Martinez celebrating a goal in the match against Benfica. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Inter Milan hosted Benfica in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at San Siro
  • Inter headed into the match with a two-goal advantage following their win in Portugal a week ago
  • They however had a job to do in a 3-3 draw at San Siro to confirm their place in the semi-final

A Milan derby awaits in the Champions League semi-finals after Inter drew 3-3 with Benfica on Wednesday to complete a 5-3 aggregate triumph.

Following Milan’s elimination of Napoli on Tuesday, Inter only needed to see out their quarter-final second leg against the Lisbon club, after carrying a 2-0 lead into the match at San Siro.

Nicolo Barella gave Inter the lead with a superb finish, as he did in the first leg before Fredrik Aursnes equalized for the visitors with a powerful header before halftime.

Lautaro Martinez restored Inter’s lead before replacement Joaquin Correa added another with a magnificent effort, but late goals from Antonio Silva and Petar Musa ensured Roger Schmidt’s side at least broke their current losing streak.

In the 14th minute, Barella put the hosts ahead as he pushed his way into the Benfica area after a one-two with Martinez, before cutting onto his left foot and scoring superbly into the upper left corner.

READ: Romelu Lukaku struggles with perennial racism at Inter Milan

Martinez’s header at the far post slipped under Odisseas Vlachodimos in the 33rd minute, with the Benfica goalkeeper relieved to see a foul assessed against the Argentine for a push on Gilberto.

Benfica levelled the game seven minutes before the break as Rafa Silva’s brilliant cross from the right allowed Aursnes to send a bullet header past Andre Onana.

Inter effectively crushed their opponents’ chances in the 65th minute when they scored a second goal. Federico Dimarco exchanged passes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the left before crossing for Martinez to score into the roof of the net.

Correa scored Inter’s third goal just two minutes after coming off the bench, cutting inside from the left and curling an effort in off the far post.

Inter Milan 3-3 Benfica: UEFA Champions League

Inter Milan forward Joaquin Correa celebrates after scoring the third for Inter against Benfica in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg at San Siro on Wednesday, April 19 2023. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |

Inter Milan put domestic form behind them

The hosts have had a difficult run in Serie A, losing four of their past five games and drawing one.

Benfica came into this game having suffered three defeats, and the fact that they were able to break that run at San Siro would be a tiny comfort.

Inter had never lost a two-legged European Cup/Champions League contest in which they had taken a two-goal lead into the second leg, and despite Benfica’s late comeback, they never looked like breaking that record here.

Dimarco had a strong night, producing 10 crosses from the left, more than twice as many as any other player, and recording two assists.

He also made three important passes, more than any other Inter player, and shared the most interceptions (all three) with Francesco Acerbi.

Inter travel to Empoli on Sunday while Benfica hosts Estoril the same day.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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