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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Inter beat AC Milan 2-0 in 1st leg of derby Champions League semi-final

Inter stay on course to become first Italian team to win trophy since they did so in 2010

Our Bureau Milan Published 12.05.23, 05:06 AM
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi. File photo

They say age is just a number. Edin Dzeko proved that on Wednesday. At 37, he might just play in his first Champions League final. The tall Bosnian netted a brilliant eighth-minute opener in Inter's 2-0 win over AC Milan in the first leg of their last-four showdown at the San Siro.

The 34-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan doubled Inter's lead in the 11th minute as the 'visitors' stunned their city rivals with the fastest of starts. The golden oldies surely had a night out in the city of fashion.

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Inter stayed on course to become the first Italian team to win the trophy since they did so in 2010.

Milan were shell-shocked and although they improved in the second half, they rarely threatened a comeback and now face an uphill task to stay on course to win their eighth European Cup.

"Right from the first minute, we had a great desire to win," Player of the Match Mkhitaryan told Prime Video. "But it's not over yet. A great battle awaits us."

Dzeko became the second oldest player to score in a Champions League semi-final after Manchester United's Ryan Giggs. He struck twice in Inter's 6-0 win at Verona this month to end a near four-month goal drought.

"Sometimes you get in this difficult moment where the ball doesn't want to go in. Patience and hard work always pay off. I was calm knowing the goals would come as always," Dzeko said.

Three-time European champions Inter made a fast start when Hakan Calhanoglu delivered a corner which fell to Dzeko and the veteran Bosnian striker expertly fired the ball into the top right corner.

Inter, who came into the fixture in high spirits after four consecutive Serie A wins, doubled the lead through Mkhitaryan after Dimarco served him with a brilliant pass and the Armenian broke into Milan's box to find the net from close range.

Calhanoglu went close to adding the third when his powerful long-range shot hit the inside of the post and Mkhitaryan was denied by Milan keeper Mike Maignan.

Milan, without injured forward Rafael Leao, were stunned and things could have got worse for the hosts when Lautaro Martinez went down inside the box just after the half-hour mark.The referee pointed to the penalty spot but his decision was overturned following a VAR review.

Milan showed more attacking intent after the interval but created few clear chances with strikes from Brahim Diaz and Junior Messias missing the target and Sandro Tonali hitting the post.

Substitute Tommaso Pobega also had a late opportunity to pull a goal back for Milan but goalkeeper Andre Onana kept out his low effort from the edge of the penalty area.

"The lads played with their hearts and heads, covering every part of the pitch," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said.

It was the first time Inter have beaten their neighbours in a European knockout tie.

Written with inputs from Reuters

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