Inter Milan beat AC Milan 1-0 in the second leg of their historic UEFA Champions League (UCL) semi-final to reach the competition’s showpiece for the first time since 2010 with a 3-0 aggregate victory, winning a fourth consecutive Derby della Madonnina without conceding.
Despite the San Siro being predominantly filled with Nerazzurri shirts, it was Milan who got off to the better start on this occasion. Théo Hernandez came agonisingly close with an audacious strike, but Brahim Díaz didn’t show enough conviction to beat André Onana after brilliant work from Sandro Tonali to tee him up, as Stefano Pioli’s side pursued the goal they so desperately needed. Inter stood firm against the Rossoneri blitz and started to threaten with their own forays forward, although Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired over from Edin Džeko’s cutback.
With the two teams going toe-to-toe, Rafael Leão came tantalisingly close to marking his return from injury with the most vital of goals as the winger raced behind Matteo Darmian but eventually dragged his shot agonisingly wide, before Džeko’s header brought an incredible save out of Mike Maignan and Lautaro Martínez soon struck off target. Even though their two-goal lead was intact, the Nerazzurri were still dealt a blow before the break, as Mkhitaryan was forced off injured.
It surprisingly took until the 56th minute for Clément Turpin to hand out his first booking of the night, doing so when Malick Thiaw cynically halted Martínez as Inter emerged from the restart strongly. In a city revered for fashion, it was Inter’s grit and organisation that kept Milan out, giving Martínez the platform to smash a shot past Maignan’s outstretched hand to put Inter ahead on the night and take the tie out of sight for Milan.
Emotions ran high after that moment, as Inter booked their tickets to the UCL final in Istanbul with their ninth match unbeaten across all competitions. While the Nerazzurri wait to see whether they will face Manchester City or Real Madrid in June, Milan will be praying that they can find a way into Europe’s primary club competition for next season after winning one of their last five, as they currently sit four points behind the fourth and final UCL qualification spot in Serie A.