Inter thump Milan 2-0 in 1st leg of Champions League semifinal

Sports Desk, May 10 (EFE).- Internazionale defeated AC Milan 2-0 Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal at the stadium shared by the two rival clubs.

The Rossoneri, technically the home side for leg one at the San Siro, struggled in the absence of injured striker Rafael Leao. The Portuguese international, who just signed a new five-year contract with Milan, has 13 goals and 13 assists this season.

Trailing 2-0 after 12 minutes, Milan barely had a sniff of goal in the first half and never really tested Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana.

The two clubs last met in the Champions League in 2004-2005, when the Rossoneri embarrassed the Nerazzurri 5-0 on aggregate in the quarterfinals. AC Milan also won in the previous semifinal clash with Inter, in 2002-2003.

But Inter, who hoisted the Champions League trophy in 2010, came into Wednesday’s contest having beaten 2007 winners Milan twice in their last three meetings.

The Nerazzurri seemed the more confident side from the opening whistle and veteran striker Edin Dzeko, who remains coach Simone Inzaghi’s preferred option in high-stakes games, opened the scoring in the 8th minute.

The 37-year-old Bosnian beat Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan with a tremendous volley off Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner. With the Rossoneri still reeling, Henrik Mkhitaryan made it 2-0 for Inter in the 12th minute, assisted by Federico Dimarco.

Only the post stopped Calhanoglu from extending the lead three minutes later, while VAR came to Milan’s rescue in the 33rd minute, overturning the referee’s decision to award Inter a penalty for Simon Kjaer’s apparent foul in the box on Lautaro Martinez.

The first serious chance for the Rossoneri came only in the 52nd minute, as Junior Messias split the defense before firing wide of the post.

Maignan came up big two minutes later to deny Dzeko a second goal, while the post thwarted Milan’s Sandro Tonali in the 67th minute.

Defender Malick Thiaw blocked a strike by Matteo Darmian in the 75th to keep Milan in the tie before Onana smothered an effort by Tommaso Pogreba in stoppage time to preserve the clean sheet.

EFE tfc/dr

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