Italian Cup: Lukaku sends Inter to quarter against AC Milan

Rome (AFP)

The essential Romelu Lukaku, with a powerful header at the end of extra time on Wednesday on the ground of Fiorentina (2-1 ap), sent Inter Milan to the quarter-final of the Italian Cup, where A derby awaits him against AC Milan.

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Entering around the 70th minute of play, the Belgian international took advantage of a slightly loose marking to spring and relieve his trainer Antonio Conte, who clenched his fists with all his might after these tensing 120 minutes, at four days of the shock against Juventus in Serie A.

At the end of a complicated week marked by a defeat against Sampdoria (1-2) and a disappointing draw at Roma (2-2), Inter suffered again for their entry into the Italian Cup.

With Christian Eriksen holder but still discreet, Inter had yet opened the scoring on a penalty – awarded after recourse to the VAR – transformed by Arturo Vidal (40th). A welcome first goal for the Chilean, in search of confidence after the first difficult months.

But the Nerazzurri, after missing the break from the resumption by a clumsy Lautaro Martinez (47th), still displayed some defensive weaknesses, which the Ivorian Christian Kouamé took advantage of to equalize (57th) after a full axis recovery.

Tense, Conte’s players then tried a lot (Hakimi 74th, Perisic 93rd, Sanchez 102nd, Eriksen 105th, Lukaku 116th) but wasted too much, until Lukaku got them out of this bad step in the 119th minute.

Inter will meet AC Milan in the quarter-finals in two weeks. The Rossoneri qualified on Tuesday against Torino (0-0 after extra time, 5-4 on penalties).

“It was an important victory for confidence, against a great team from Fiorentina,” said Lukaku, without worrying too much about the team’s air pockets: “We’re working on it, we’ve talked about it. between us. We are a young team, and we are making progress “.

Outside the field too, the club is experiencing some turbulence: the Chinese owner, the Suning group, is looking for investors to face a difficult financial situation. According to Italian media, a sale of the club is not excluded.

“The owner evaluates the opportunities in the interest of Inter and in the respect of the coat of arms of the club”, simply commented the managing director of Inter Milan, Giuseppe Marotta, questioned on RAI on this subject.

The club recorded a loss of more than 100 million euros last season, in particular due to the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. This season, its budget will suffer from the early elimination of all European competitions.

© 2021 AFP

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