Alongside the Manchester City vs Bayern Munich showpiece, Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final programme included an interesting Portuguese-Italian confrontation. Benfica Lisbon lost 0:2 to Inter Milan in this match, with goals from Barella and Lukaku.
Benfica, who were missing the injured ex-Slavic defender Alexander Bah, sent the first shot between the three posts after 15 minutes of play. Rafa Silva’s shot from a good position was deflected by goalkeeper André Onana.
The opening forty-five minutes offered a fairly even spectacle without many shooting finishes. The teams went into the booths with a 0:0 scoreline.
Lisbon were more active in the second half, but Milan took the lead in the 51st minute. Bastoni sent a good centre into the penalty area from the left, which Nicolò Barella headed behind goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.
Coach Roger Schmidt’s charges came close to equalising six minutes later, but the Nerazzurri survived a dangerous barrage in the small penalty area. Then, in the 63rd minute, coach Simone Inzaghi made a triple substitution. Lukaku, Correa and Gosens replaced Jack, Martínez and Dimarco on the pitch.
Three minutes later, Vlachodimos kept Benfica in it with his intervention against a shot from Mkhitaryan. Just before that, the Eagles made their first substitution as Florentino gave his place on the pitch to David Neres.
Dumfries could have increased Inter’s lead in the 78th minute, but first he was saved by the goalkeeper and then his shot was blocked by one of the defending players. However, the visiting team didn’t have to be so sorry.
The main referee Michael Oliver, after working with VAR, blew the whistle for the hand of João Mario and, above all, for the penalty. It was converted by Romelu Lukaku in the 82nd minute thanks to a cross to the right post, although Vlachodimos was not far from the ball.
Benfica were unable to apply the necessary pressure at the end, even during the four minutes of stoppage time. Former Slavia striker Petar Musa was supposed to come on during the game, but this substitution did not take place.
In the last seconds, Gonçalo Ramos missed a promising chance to reduce the deficit and the Lisbon club will go into the rematch in Milan with a two-goal deficit. On the other hand, the Italian team came close to reaching the Champions League semi-finals.
Source: UEFA, Nova Sport 3
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