MILAN — Inter Milan took management of Wednesday’s all-Italian Champions League semifinal with a 2-0 win over rivals AC Milan at San Siro Stadium.
Simeone Inzaghi’s aspect had been the ‘away’ staff in a fearsome environment however defied a hostile crowd to race right into a two-goal lead after simply 11 minutes, as Edin Dzeko opened the scoring with a shocking volley from Hakan Calhanoglu‘s nook earlier than Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled their benefit.
Inter continued to run riot as Mkhitaryan hit the publish earlier than Ismael Bennacer was pressured off by means of damage on 18 minutes. The Nerazzurri thought they’d a penalty on 31 minutes as Lautaro Martinez went down underneath a problem from Simon Kjaer. Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano initially awarded the spot-kick however overturned his choice on VAR evaluate.
Milan improved after the restart as Braham Diaz curled a 20-yard shot simply huge earlier than substitute Junior Messias, on for Bennacer, flashed an effort off track from a promising place. Dzeko was denied on the different finish by Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan earlier than Sandro Tonali hit the publish as Stefano Pioli’s aspect tried to cut back the deficit.
As an alternative, they had been unable to register a shot heading in the right direction till the 81st minute and are left with an uphill process as Inter are firmly within the ascendancy as they goal to succeed in a primary Champions League Ultimate since 2010.
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1. Inter take management on an imposing San Siro evening
The speak pre-match was of a recreation which might buckle underneath the load of its personal historical past and significance. Milan are seven-time winners, Inter three-time champions. Each are steeped within the historical past of this competitors, enjoying out a mouthwatering semifinal in one in all Europe’s most iconic stadiums — their 236th assembly in 114 years however the first Milan derby within the Champions League since 2005.
And with each groups struggling in Serie A this yr, neither might say with any certainty after they is likely to be right here once more. After two years of holding the Scudetto — Inter in 2021, Milan final yr — Napoli stole the limelight with their first Serie A title, however what a option to wrestle it again with a recreation of this magnitude.
Some anticipated it to be cagey in consequence however in the long run, the event solely affected one staff. Milan had conceded only one objective of their earlier six Champions League matches however they had been 2-0 down inside 11 minutes right here. Their defensive solidity evaporated, exemplified by Inter’s second objective as Milan’s rearguard parted just like the Crimson Sea to permit Mkhitaryan acres of house to seek out the web.
Inter had been in higher current type, profitable their final 5 matches in all competitions, however that alone didn’t account for the gulf between these two sides, even when Milan improved considerably within the second interval.
Inter can have the benefit subsequent Tuesday as the house aspect with nearly all of the group pulling for them. Oddly, maybe the raucous environment inhibited Milan. Earlier than their current success, the locals used to speak about la maglia è pesante — the load of the shirt. Maybe it was simply an off evening. Or maybe the Rossoneri felt that weight a bit of.
2. Dzeko-over-Lukaku gamble pays off
Together with whether or not to begin Marcelo Brozovic or Hakan Calhanoglu in midfield, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi’s largest choice dilemma was whether or not to begin Edin Dzeko or Romelu Lukaku alongside Lautaro Martinez in assault. Inzaghi opted for Dzeko and what a name it was.
In reality, Calhanoglu and Dzeko mixed brilliantly for Inter’s opening objective, a chic volley which made Dzeko the second oldest participant to attain in a Champions League semifinal (after Ryan Giggs for Manchester United) at age 37 years. 54 days.
Lukaku has a wealth of expertise however Dzeko’s pedigree on this competitors got here to the fore — he has now scored in every of the three Champions League semifinals he has performed in his profession. The mix of Martinez and Dzeko was merely an excessive amount of for Milan early on. By halftime, Inter had managed 11 pictures — the best quantity Milan had confronted at San Siro since Might 2017 in opposition to AS Roma, when Dzeko scored twice within the opening 45 minutes of a 4-1 win.
Dzeko missed a golden likelihood to kill the tie when put by means of eight minutes into the second half after Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan neatly made a save at his ft, however the Croatian’s general influence went a protracted option to turning this tie in Inter’s favour.
Inzaghi has lengthy developed a fame as one thing of a cup specialist and this clever Inter efficiency will solely improve it.
3. Leao’s spark was missed as Milan struggled
Rafael Leao was dominated out with a muscular downside however the membership tried to invoke his spirit by saying only a few hours earlier than kick-off that the Portugal star had ended months of hypothesis by signing a brand new five-year contract. Alexis Saelemaekers was given the tough process of changing Leao, who has registered 13 targets and 10 assists in all competitions this season.
There was a second simply earlier than halftime which encapsulated Saelemaekers’ efficiency. Choosing up the ball on the left flank, he drove infield, jinking a technique after which the opposite however on the level he wanted to provide an finish product, he misplaced the ball to Denzel Dumfries. The groans within the stands mentioned all of it. Leao was pictured together with his head in his arms on the touchline at one level throughout a torrid first half during which Milan struggled to create any sustained attacking menace.
Though they improved within the second half, hitting the publish by means of Sandro Tonali simply after the hour mark, Saelemaekers was already substituted by that time. The dearth of aptitude was not solely his fault however this displaying solely underlined — if it was mandatory — how determined Milan might be to make sure Leao is match for subsequent week’s second leg.
Finest and worst performers
BEST: Edin Dzeko, FW, Inter Milan
Beautifully-taken opening objective set Inter on their approach and seemed harmful all night.
BEST: Lautaro Martinez, FW, Inter Milan
A relentless bundle of vitality, inflicting issues in possession and urgent laborious with out it — his 5 tackles was a game-high.
BEST: Alessandro Bastoni, DF, Inter Milan
Composed presence on the again and had one glorious foray ahead, laying on an excellent likelihood for Dzeko.
WORST: Fikayo Tomori, DF, AC Milan
Crushed by Dzeko and Martinez with embarrassing ease within the opening half an hour and by no means recovered his poise.
WORST: Alexis Saelemaekers, FW, AC Milan
Accomplished simply 11 of 20 passes and changed by Divock Origi simply earlier than the hour mark.
WORST: Olivier Giroud, FW, AC Milan
Did not get a lot service in equity however received solely 46.7% of his duels and accomplished 9 of 15 passes.
Highlights and notable moments
The San Siro seemed unbelieveable forward of Wednesday’s historic evening.
The San Siro is prepared. pic.twitter.com/29Uy4DV6Uu
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) Might 10, 2023
Edin Dzeko, at age 37, as soon as once more silencing the Curva Sud simply eight minutes with this acrobatic effort.
“A GOAL WORTHY OF THE MOMENT!”
37-year-old Edin Džeko with a shocking end. 🍷 pic.twitter.com/RpbKtJiTcS
— CBS Sports activities Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) Might 10, 2023
One other veteran star with 34-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan giving Inter a commanding lead with this clean end.
TWO GOALS IN THREE MINUTES.
INTER ARE FLYING. 💥 pic.twitter.com/9K6yD4wZsu
— CBS Sports activities Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) Might 10, 2023
After the match: What the managers and gamers mentioned
Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko, to BT Sport: “It feels excellent, particularly as a result of it is a derby. We performed away on paper. It is a fantastic end result for us.”
AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, to BT Sport: “It took us some time to get again within the recreation. There was a bit of hysteria within the staff. In a recreation like this you possibly can’t do this.”
Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Data analysis)
– Inter Milan now has three straight victories over AC Milan through shutout for the primary time since 1979-80. Wednesday is Inter’s first win over their rivals in a European competitors (1W-2L-2D).
– Edin Dzeko has scored in all three Champions League semifinal matches he has performed: On Wednesday vs. Milan, in addition to as soon as in every leg of the 2018 matchup in opposition to Liverpool.
– Milan conceded a number of targets within the first quarter-hour of a Champions League match for the second time ever and the primary for the reason that 2010-11 group stage in a street recreation in opposition to Actual Madrid.
AC Milan: Fifth within the Serie A desk, they’re at Spezia on Saturday trying to keep within the hunt for a high 4 spot. Again on the San Siro as guests on Tuesday for the second leg in opposition to Inter.
Inter Milan: Holding onto fourth place within the Serie A desk, they host Sassuolo on Saturday in league motion earlier than subsequent Tuesday’s decider vs. the Rossoneri.