After gaining a positive result on away ground in the first leg, Inter didn’t have to do much in the second leg to secure a ticket to the Champions League Finals – their first since the 2009/2010 season. The sole goal from captain Lautaro Martinez was enough for them to win by a minimal margin. Simone Inzaghi’s team won 3-0 on aggregate and would wait to face either Real Madrid or Manchester City in Istanbul. The second leg is the fourth time Inter has won the Derby della Madonnina against city rival AC Milan this season.
When asked which opponent he would rather face in the grand finale, Inter legend and vice-president Javier Zanetti responded: “Difficult to say, but I’d like to avoid Real Madrid, since at the moment this competition seems made for them.”
“But the most important thing is that we got there,” he added. Zanetti and Inter also acknowledged the tough road they faced thus far.
Inter advancing to the Champions League Finals was one to remember – a great story of an underdog. The journey started in the Group of Death, where they defeated La Liga champion Barcelona to qualify in second place behind Bayern Munich. Nerazzurri then cruised through back-to-back trips to Portugal against Porto and Benfica before beating rival AC Milan. On this path, they were never highly rated and were even put as underdogs by most fans.
Inter squad is one of the oldest on paper. But at the end of the day, these experienced veterans helped settle the tie in the semifinals. Their star strikers, Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku were under backlash after the World Cup. But they prove the haters wrong with the crucial goals in the knockout stages. Particularly Lautaro Martinez, the Argentinian has been world-class throughout the competition.
Whatever the opponent, Inter will still be regarded as the weaker side. Can their miracle run be capped off with their fourth precious Champions League trophy?
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