Barella and Lukaku button up Inter’s victory in Da Luz

Barella and Lukaku button up Inter’s victory in Da Luz

0-2 for the ‘neroazzurro’ team in a dull match


Inter Milan beat SL Benfica 2-0 this Tuesday, thanks to goals from Nicolò Barella and Romelu Lukaku, in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, thus unleashing a match without too much brilliance and who has left the definition of this tie for the return in Milanese lands.

Da Luz expected a vibrant duel that disappointed in its first minutes, with both defenses well placed and without giving the rival attackers room for maneuver. Not surprisingly, the first clear opportunity was in the boots of a central defender, thanks to a long shot from Francesco Acerbi in the 25th minute.

His strong shot went high, brushing the bar and causing rival keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos to stretch. It was the visitor’s response to another shot taken minutes earlier by João Mário, after a great combination from the local players. Benfica’s offensive work fell on João Mário and little else, without showing off before the break.

The match was encouraged when they returned from the locker room, especially when Inter opened the scoring with a header from Barella. In a wave of several Inter players, having entered the area from the right corner, Barella thus took advantage of a good cross from his teammate Alessandro Bastoni from the opposite side.

The header beat Vlachodimos and calmed down the visiting team, who knew how to temporize and came close to making it 0-2 with another header. Its author was the Dutch interior Denzel Dumfries, also entering the area from the right wing and also Bastoni’s center. Play modeled on the previous goal, but this time it was thwarted by Vachlodimos in the first instance and by Morato in the rebound.

Benfica was saving itself with difficulties until then the VAR intervened to further sink the public of Da Luz. João Mário had touched with his arm a lateral cross made by Dumfries. The referee, Michael Oliver, reviewed the play on television and decreed the maximum penalty for Lukaku to sentence the ‘neroazzurro’ victory (min.82).

The locals seemed quite anesthetized, generating in attack just a jumbled play in the small area that they did not know how to solve even on three occasions. Then there was a shot from the front, after a play between David Neres and Gonçalo Ramos, but the ball went to a corner.


The Inter goalkeeper, the Cameroonian André Onana, had suffered little throughout the night and even made Gonçalo Ramos despair in added time, when most of the Lisbon stands were already singing the 1-2 that would have opened the doors of the comeback in the second leg.

On the run, Ramos found a loophole to win the back of the interista central defenders, after a good filtered pass, and shot with his left boot looking for the opposite post; but Onana, well positioned, avoided the target and preserved the two-goal advantage for his team.

The San Siro stadium will decide the semifinalist on April 19 (9:00 p.m.), with a Benfica that will have to exhibit much more bite if it intends to overcome the tie. For its part, Inter will want to once again show pragmatism and decisiveness.


–RESULT: BENFICA, 0 – INTER MILAN, 2 (0-0, at halftime).


BENFICA: Vachlodimos; Gilberto, António Silva, Morato, Grimaldo; Florentino (Neres, min.64), Chiquinho; Rafa Silva, João Mario, Aursnes; and Gonçalo Ramos.

INTER MILAN: Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni (De Vrij, min.90+1); Dumfries (D’Ambrosio, min.86), Barella, Brozovic, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco (Gosens, min.63); Lautaro Martínez (Correa, min.63) and Dzeko (Lukaku, min.63).


0-1, min.51: Stretcher.

0-2, min.82: Lukaku (p).

–REFEREE: Michael Oliver (ENG). He yellow carded António Silva (min.22) for Benfica, and Brozovic (min.50) and Dzeko (min.83) for Inter.

— STADIUM: Da Luz, 62,594 spectators.