Inter Milan 5-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan are heading to the 2020 Europa League final after a thumping win over Ukrainian league champions Shakhtar at the Merkur-Spiel Arena in Dusseldorf.
Both teams desperately wanted to win this tie; neither having picked up European silverware for over a decade and this was a big opportunity.
I Nerazzurri were strong favourites to make it to the final at odds of 1.30, and after a hard-fought first half, they eased away in the second as Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku both helped themselves to a brace.
And now there’s a treat in store for SBOBET Europa League fans as Inter prepare for a meeting with the competition’s specialists, Sevilla.
Highlights of the game
After a stop-start opening to this game, one of the stars of the Serie A season brought the match to life. Inter took advantage of a dreadful clearance from Shakhtar keeper Andriy Pyatov and Nicola Barella swung in a perfect cross Lautaro Martinez, who rose to head home his 20th goal of the season.
I Nerazzurri came so close to doubling their lead on 26 minutes when Ashley Young’s cross evaded the Shakhtar defence, but neither Romelu Lukaku nor Martinez could convert.
Then, Barella, who was in the mood tonight, forced Pyatov into a fingertip save with a crisp half-volley. The Ukrainians dominated first-half possession but their first shot in anger arrived just a couple of minutes before the break when 19-year-old Marcos Antonio flashed a volley over the bar.
Shakhtar had a glorious chance to level on the hour when Mykola Matvyenko sent over a peach of a cross, but top scorer Junior Moraes could only head straight at Samir Handanovic.
And the Ukrainians paid dearly just a minute later. The Italians broke forward and won a corner. And when Marcelo Brozovic swung over the dead-ball kick, Danilo D’Ambrosio met it sweetly to head home Inter’s second.
It was game over when Lukaku poked the ball through for Martinez and he curled brilliantly beyond Pyatov and into the net. Antonio Conte and his team celebrated on the bench, knowing they had made the final, but there was more to come.
Lukaku was the star of Inter’s quarter-final victory over Bayer Leverkusen and his goal in that game made him the first player to score in nine consecutive Europa League games. And with 15 minutes remaining, he made it 10 in 10.
This time, Argentine hitman Martinez stole the ball and laid it on a plate for Lukaku, who took one look before smashing his shot low into the bottom corner for his 32nd goal of the season.
And 32 soon became 33 and Inter went 5-0 up after a brilliant dummy by Christian Eriksen sent Lukaku through on goal and the Belgian did his usual job, firing through the legs of Pyatov to make it five.
Job done…and how!
The pre-match Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk betting odds pitched I Nerazzurri as clear favourites to win and while Shakhtar dominated the first-half possession with 65 per cent of the ball, the Italians had the only two efforts on target.
In fact, in a cagey first half, Martinez’ 20th-minute header was the first attempt on goal. But the second half was a different story as the Italians cut Shakhtar’s defence into ribbons with a final count of nine shots on target to one.
Inter are now unbeaten in 11 games while the Ukranian’s have lost their first in 13, and Conte’s side now have a chance to win their first silverware since the 2011 Coppa Italia.
Both Inter and Shakhtar landed in the Europa League having crashed out of the Champions League and they have both already secured places in Europe’s flagship competition for 2020/21, so this tussle was all about winning silverware.
Inter have shown tonight they have the hunger.
Last night’s Europa League 2020 news headlines were made by five times winner Sevilla as they enjoyed a semi-final victory over Manchester United.
Red Devils’ midfield ace Bruno Fernandes put United ahead from the penalty spot, and despite dominating possession for periods of the game the Manchester side was undone by Suso’s equaliser and Luuk De Jong’s winner.
Inter Milan vs Sevilla. Serie A vs La Liga…it’s a clash to savour.
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