By Sedara Philip
Inter Milan reached the Champions League final for the first time in 13 years as Lautaro Martinez’s goal sealed victory over fierce rivals AC Milan at San Siro.
Three-time winners Inter, who led 2-0 after the first leg, will face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in Istanbul on 10 June after a disciplined second-leg display ensured their progress.
Heavily backed at a feverish San Siro as the designated home team, Inter were made to absorb early pressure as a determined start by Milan ensured the match began at a frenetic pace.
Theo Hernandez fired marginally over with a ferocious strike and Brahim Diaz was denied by Andre Onana as Stefano Pioli’s side attempted to undo the damage done by conceding two goals inside 11 minutes last week.
The talented Rafael Leao, absent for Milan in the first leg because of a thigh injury, displayed flashes of inspiration on his return but shot agonisingly wide of the far post after driving in from the left.
Inter asserted themselves as the first half progressed and the tie would have been effectively over before the interval had it not been for Mike Maignan’s stunning reaction save from Edin Dzeko’s close-range header.
Inter had starved Milan of encouragement in a largely uneventful second half, before Martinez squeezed the ball under Maignan and into the bottom corner with 16 minutes remaining to send the Inter fans into raptures.
The full-time whistle was greeted by a deafening noise as Inter’s first shot at Champions League glory since their 2010 success was confirmed.
Credit: BBC Football