Inter edge Benfica to set up epic Milan derby in UCL semifinals

Inter edge Benfica to set up epic Milan derby in UCL semifinals
Fecha de publicación: 
20 April 2023
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Inter Milan showed resilience as they held Benfica to a 3-3 draw on Wednesday, securing their passage to the Champions League semifinals with an impressive 5-3 aggregate victory.

The Italian giants will now take on their city rivals, AC Milan, in a highly anticipated encounter, vying for the honor of being the first Italian team to advance to the final in six years.

It will be Inter's first semifinal appearance since they won the European Cup for the third time in 2010, the last Italian Champions League triumph with Juventus losing the 2015 and 2017 finals.

"It will be a special derby," Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, who ended his 10-game scoring drought by scoring his team's second goal against Benfica, told Amazon Prime Video.

"We all know what this game means, to play a Milan derby in the Champions League semifinals.

"Happiness is the word, I'm so proud to represent this crest and this great club which is back to where it belongs."

Inter were resolute against Benfica and were never in danger of losing their grip on the tie, scoring in each one of their only three shots on target in the entire game.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg in Portugal, Inter were happy to sit back and wait for a counterattack against a desperate Benfica side.

Inter took the lead after 13 minutes when defender Nicolas Otamendi failed to control a loose ball near his own area.

Nicolo Barella, who also scored Inter’s opener in the first leg, was quick to react and after a nice one-two combination with Lautaro he unleashed a thunderous left-foot strike into the top corner of the net.

Benfica equalized in the 38th minute when midfielder Fredik Aursnes leapt high to head a cross from Rafa Silva powerfully into the roof of the net.

Inter opened up a two-goal lead after the break as Martinez and substitute Joaquin Correa scored with close-range strikes and they were in control, holding Benfica to zero shots on target until the 86th minute.

The Portuguese side refused to lie down, however, and defender Antonio Silva with a close-range header and substitute Petar Musa scored late goals for Benfica to salvage a draw.

The Milan teams have met twice in the Champions League knockout stages, the 2002-03 semis and 2004-05 quarterfinals with AC Milan, seven-time European champions, winning both ties.

They will clash at the San Siro in the first leg on May 10 and on May 16 in the second leg. The winners will face Real Madrid or Manchester City, who meet in the semifinals for the second consecutive season.

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