Lautaro Martinez sends Inter Milan into Champions League final

Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive goal in the 74th minute, assisted by Romelu Lukaku. Twitter/centregoals

Inter Milan secured their first Champions League final in over a decade with a 1-0 victory against AC Milan, completing a 3-0 aggregate win. 

Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive goal in the 74th minute, assisted by Romelu Lukaku, as Inter showcased their dominance throughout the match. 

Despite being considered underdogs in the final against either Real Madrid or Manchester City, Inter’s impressive performance in the Milan derby suggests they will pose a formidable challenge.

Having held a 2-0 advantage from the first leg, Martinez dealt cemented a 3-0 aggregate victory in what was dubbed the “Euroderby.” This remarkable achievement marks Inter’s return to the final since their triumphant 2010 campaign under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, where they clinched the league, Italian Cup, and Champions League titles.

Once again, it was the formidable attacking partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez that proved decisive for Inter, harkening back to their successful Serie A title run two years ago. Lukaku played a pivotal role, setting up Martinez for the crucial goal that ultimately secured their place in the final.

The path to glory continues for Inter as they now await the outcome of the second leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City to discover their opponent in the final, set to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 10. While they are likely to be considered underdogs against either of these powerhouse teams, Inter’s exceptional performance throughout the all-Milan tie demonstrates their resilience and formidable nature, making them a formidable challenge for any opponent.

AC Milan, on the other hand, had also yearned to end their lengthy wait for a Champions League final appearance. Their last participation in the prestigious event dates back to 2007, where they secured their seventh title. The return of Rafael Leao, who missed the previous match due to a thigh injury, injected newfound intensity into Milan’s gameplay. However, despite an energetic start from both teams and promising moments, including Leao’s near miss, Inter’s dominance in the second half ultimately sealed their fate.

As Inter Milan prepares to face their final hurdle on the road to European glory, their impressive display over the two legs against AC Milan signifies their determination and strength as a team. While they may be seen as underdogs, the manner in which they navigated this fierce all-Milan encounter suggests they will be a formidable force to reckon with in the highly anticipated final.

Inter Milan (3-5-2)

Andre Onana; Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Edin Dzeko, Lautaro Martinez (capt)

Coach: Simone Inzaghi (ITA)

AC Milan (4-2-3-1)

Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria (capt), Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Rade Krunic, Sandro Tonali; Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud

Coach: Stefano Pioli (ITA)

Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)

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