Inter thrash Shakhtar 5-0 to reach Europa League final

Sports Desk, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku each had a brace Monday to lead Inter Milan 5-0 over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League semifinal, where the resurgent Neroazzurri will face five-time winners Sevilla.

Friday’s clash with the Spanish club will be the first European final for Internazionale since 2010, when they beat Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid to lift the Champions League trophy.

Inter coach Antonio Conte stuck with the same starting 11 that dispatched Getafe and Bayer Leverkusen in the knockout stage and quarterfinals, respectively.

Ahead of a three-man back line anchored by Diego Godin, the Italian squad deployed five midfielders with Martinez and Lukaku up front.

Shakhtar began ambitiously and Inter were content to let them have most of the ball while remaining alert for openings on the counter.

Inter grabbed the lead in the 19th minute on the first of Martinez’s two goals, which resulted from a botched clearance by goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov, the only member of the Shakhtar team that won the UEFA Cup (the precursor to the Europa League) in 2009 still playing for the Ukrainian side.

Shakhtar’s first whiff of goal came only in the 43rd minute on a shot by Marcos Antonio went just over the cross-bar.

Pyatov did well to deny Martinez early in the second half, about 15 minutes before Junior Moraes had a great opportunity to equalize for Shakhtar only to head the ball directly to Inter keeper Samir Handanovic.

Two minutes later, Danilo D’Ambrosio doubled Inter’s lead, heading in a Marcelo Brozovic cross.

Conceding the second goal seemed to destroy what little confidence Shakhtar had left.

Martinez made it 3-0 in the 74th minute and Lukaku got two goals in the span of five minutes to complete the rout.

The Belgian international extended his record Europa League consecutive scoring streak to 10 matches while lifting his goal total for the year in all competitions to 33.

Inter, with three Europa League titles, will face Sevilla in pursuit of a record-extending sixth triumph in the competition.

Sevilla, who beat Manchester United in the another semifinal, have yet to lose a Europa League final. EFE am/dr

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