AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan: Nerazzurri take control of Champions League semi-final

Inter Milan took control of their Derby della Madonnina Champions League semi-final with an assertive 2-0 win over AC Milan.

The Nerazzurri could not have been happier after an almost perfect first half.  

A cagey yet intense opening saw both teams feed into the electric atmosphere at Giuseppe Meazza. However, it was the “visitors” that got off to a brilliant start. A Hakan Calhanoglu corner perfectly found Edin Dzeko, who diverted a fantastic volley into the top corner of the net. Inter Milan thus had a vital lead within the first ten minutes.

Moments later, Inter’s energy paid off once more as they doubled their advantage. This time, Federico Dimarco’s run resulted in a cut-back to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who ghosted into the box to rifle past Mike Maignan. It was a dream start for Inter, but AC Milan were shellshocked.

The away side threatened to run away with this semi-final tie, although Calhanoglu’s speculative shot only rattled the post. Despite the let-off, Milan seemed powerless to prevent the Inter counterattack. The Nerazzurri’s aggressive forward runs after a turnover devastated the hosts, with so much space available in midfield.

Inter Milan’s ability to catch their rivals out almost resulted in a penalty. Unfortunately for Simone Inzaghi’s side, a VAR check saved Simon Kjaer’s blushes.

This was the eventual warning that gave the Rossoneri a wake-up call. They saw out the half with longer spells in possession but could not create clear-cut chances. Stefano Pioli’s side had a lot to work out during the interval.

Second half

AC Milan began the second half with their clearest opportunities of the match so far. Junior Messias found himself bearing down on Inter’s goal but could only put a tame effort wide. Minutes before, Brahim Diaz was similarly unable to find the target as the Rossoneri struggled in front of goal.

Clearly, Milan were missing their key attacking threat, the injured Rafael Leao.

Inter, although content with a two-goal advantage, still found it too easy to get through Milan’s defence. It took a point-blank Maignan save to prevent Dzeko from getting his second of the game – a reminder of the Nerazzurri’s consistent threat.  

AC Milan rang the changes in search of a stimulant. Divock Origi initially showed some energy, with his play causing Inter issues. Unfortunately, though, Sandro Tonali’s eventual shot only found the foot of the post.

The absence of Leao was a significant issue for AC Milan, who only troubled the Inter goal with two shots on target throughout the entire evening. If the Portuguese star is unfit for the second leg, Stefano Pioli’s side face an even more gargantuan task.

Read – Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City: Champions League semi-final first leg results in draw

Meanwhile, Inter will be pleased with the “away” leg of this semi-final against bitter rivals AC Milan. As a result of this win, they stand on the cusp of their first UCL final since 2010.

Featured image credit: Getty