Home Sports Champions League: Inter hold off Benfica to book Milan derby

Champions League: Inter hold off Benfica to book Milan derby

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Inter set up a tantalising derby against AC Milan in the semi-finals of the Champions League as they beat Benfica 5-3 on aggregate in the last eight.

It took less than 15 minutes for Inter to increase their aggregate advantage to 3-0. Nicolo Barella chopped inside his defender in the box and curled a beautiful finish into the top corner to effectively put the tie to bed.

Benfica made things interesting as they pulled a goal back later in the half when Fredrik Aursnes got on the end of a Rafa Silva cross to head beyond Andre Onana.

However, Martinez popped up to add another for Inter from close range shortly after the hour mark, making it 4-1 on aggregate, before Joaquin Correa whipped home his own beauty moments after coming off the bench to make things even worse for Benfica.

In a dramatic finish, Antonio Silva headed a consolation, before Petar Musa struck in the dying embers of the game to see it finish 3-3 on the night, with Inter winning 5-3 on aggregate.

Martinez had a key role in his team’s opener and then got on the end of a Federico Dimarco cross to fire in his team’s second of the game. More than that, though, the Argentine was a lively presence until he went off after 75 minutes and did remarkably well in linking up with his co-stars to ensure the hosts remained threatening, even when the tie seemed to be over and done with.

If Benfica were to have any chance of getting back into this tie, they needed their star forward to be up for the fight. Goncalo Ramos, sadly, failed the test. While Benfica had bright combinations and some dangerous attacks, the 25-goal striker was barely involved for the most part. He was eventually taken off after 74 minutes, looking a shadow of the star Benfica fans have become accustomed to seeing this season.

Inter will go on to meet AC Milan in the semi-finals of the competition, with Real Madrid and Manchester City also in the fight for the European crown.


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