May 20, 2024


Inter Milan drew 3-3 with Benfica on Wednesday to win their Champions League quarterfinal 5-3 on aggregate and will face city rivals AC Milan for the right to be the first Italian team to reach the decider 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 netting 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.

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

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 equalised in the 38th minute thanks to midfielder Fredik Aursnes who bravely launched himself at a cross from Rafa Silva and gave goalkeeper Andre Onana no chance with a close-range header 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.

Benfica 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 winning both ties.

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