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Champions League: Lautaro Martinez fires Inter to finals in victory over AC Milan

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Inter Milan 1-0 AC Milan Champions League semi-final
Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates a goal in the Champions League semi-final second leg match against AC Milan. | PHOTO: Sky |
  • Inter Milan played their city rivals AC Milan at the San Siro in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League second leg
  • Inter headed into the match with a 2-0 advantage after winning the first leg 2-0 a week ago
  • A sole goal from Lautaro Martinez sealed the final spot for Inter Milan who will be heading to Istanbul

Inter Milan secured their spot in the UEFA Champions League final with a commanding 3-0 aggregate victory over AC Milan, with Lautaro Martinez delivering the decisive blow. Martinez’s goal in the 75th minute sealed Inter’s triumph in the second leg, adding to their 2-0 win in the first leg last week.

The result sets up an eagerly anticipated final against either Manchester City or Real Madrid in Istanbul on June 10.

Martinez, Argentina’s World Cup-winning striker, showcased his exceptional talent throughout the match. His clinical finish in the 75th minute sealed Inter’s eighth consecutive victory, sending the crowd of 76,000 at the San Siro into wild celebrations.

This achievement marks Inter’s first appearance in the Champions League final since 2010 when Jose Mourinho guided them to a historic treble before departing for Real Madrid. It also rekindles their aspirations of lifting a fourth European crown.

Inter Milan 1-0 AC Milan UEFA Champions League (3-0 on aggregate) - Lautaro Martinez

Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring the winner against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals second leg at San Siro on Tuesday, May 16 2023. | PHOTO: Sky |

READ: Real Madrid must overturn an awful Champions League record when they visit Manchester City

Recognizing the urgency of the occasion in the 237th Milan derby, AC Milan began the game with a quick tempo. In the 14th minute, they had a golden opportunity to turn the tie in their favour. Sandro Tonali expertly created space for Brahim Diaz, presenting him with a clear shot at goal. However, the Spaniard’s attempt lacked conviction, and goalkeeper Andre Onana made a routine save.

Rafael Leao came close to finding the net with a powerful shot that narrowly missed the target. While Milan took heart from their scoring opportunities, Inter posed a constant threat, with Martinez coming close on two occasions. On the second attempt, only a spectacular reflex save by Mike Maignan prevented a dangerous header from finding the back of the net, keeping Milan’s hopes alive.

The significance of Milan’s missed chances became evident as the second half unfolded. Inter took control of possession, frustrating their opponents who appeared to be devoid of ideas. Milan’s players grew incensed when Francesco Acerbi slyly stamped on Tonali’s foot off the ball, but referee Clement Turpin chose not to take action.

READ: Inter Milan take advantage over AC Milan in the Champions League semi finals

Inter’s lead seemed insurmountable, and shortly after Romelu Lukaku was brought on as a substitute, the Belgian forward combined with Martinez to seal their place in the final.

Lukaku showcased his strength by holding the ball up in the corner of the penalty area. When the opportune moment arose, he threaded a pass to Martinez, who displayed excellent control before beating Maignan at the near post.

Martinez’s moment of brilliance stood out amidst a second half marred by increasing aggression, resulting in a flurry of yellow cards. Milan, unable to muster any further response, had exhausted all their resources and were left with nothing to offer.

Inter Milan’s resounding victory not only secured their place in the Champions League final but also highlighted the exceptional talent of Lautaro Martinez. As they eagerly anticipate the final against either Manchester City or Real Madrid, Inter will draw inspiration from their eight consecutive victories and aim to add a fourth European crown to their illustrious history.

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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