Inter Milan has progressed into the Europa League semi-finals as goals from Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku helped them secure a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Dusseldorf Arena.
Chelsea target Kai Havertz had reduced the deficit for the Bundesliga club after Inter had gone two goals up in the first 22 minutes. This could also be his final game for Leverkusen.
The German put the score at 2-1 with a well-taken finish before half-time but Antonio Conte’s side prevailed to book their place in the last four in Germany.
Although the Nerazzurri would have scored two more goals, only to be denied two penalties via VAR review. Those decisions however proved immaterial as they moved further in the European tournament.
Next on their schedule will now be today’s winner of the quarter-final between Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel.
Inter Milan Vs Bayern Leverkusen highlight
Inter made the perfect start after Lukaku’s shot was blocked by Daley Sinkgraven, and it fell kindly for Barella to stroke his first-time shot with the outside of his boot beyond Lukas Hradecky’s stretch for his first goal in this season’s competition.
Barella nearly secured his brace some moments later when he met Lautaro Martinez’s low cross, forcing Hradecky into a smart save with his feet.
The goalie, however, couldn’t stop Inter from going two goals up 30 seconds later when Romelu Lukaku, who won the man of the match award rolled Edmond Tapsoba from Ashley Young’s pass and managed to keep his feet to guide his shot into the net for his 31st goal of the season.
This is Lukaku’s ninth consecutive game that had scored in the competition – a new Europa League record. He would have scored a brace after getting a release pass from Marcelo Brozovic but Hradecky stood tall to save.
The miss appeared to be costly as Leverkusen within a minute found a route back into the game. Lars Bender’s speculative shot was blocked by Diego Godin, and Havertz took the opportunity by wriggling through to take Kevin Volland’s return pass to squeeze his shot beneath Samir Handanovic.
Two minutes later, Inter would have to return to a two-goal lead but referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande, who had initially pointed to the penalty spot after he deemed Daley Sinkgraven handled Danilo D’Ambrosio’s cross rescinded his decision upon VAR review.
In the second interval, Leverkusen goalkeeper Hradecky again denied substitutes Alexis Sanchez and Victor Moses in quick succession.
They also had their momentS in the second half where Handanovic was unduly troubled. One of such was a teasing cross from Leon Bailey in the 80th minute that evaded Havertz and Volland.
Apart from that, Inter maintained their focus as they were even the ones closest to putting the tie to bed. Lukaku had prepared to score his brace from the penalty spot after Christian Eriksen was fouled by Karim Bellarabi inside the box. Replays however showed a handball by Barella in the build-up, which canceled it.