Inter Milan midfielder Federico Dimarco’s first-half goal earned his side a place in the Coppa Italia final for the second year in a row after a 1-0 home win over Juventus in their semi-final second leg on Wednesday secured a 2-1 aggregate victory.
It was the first time in six attempts that Inter had got the better of Juve in a Coppa Italia semi-final, ending the visitors’ streak of three consecutive finals.
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Inter will face either Fiorentina or Cremonese in the final on May 24 at the Stadio Olimpico, with Fiorentina leading 2-0 after their semifinal first leg in Cremona. They will play the second leg on Thursday.
“It was a wonderful evening, a lot of fair play, both teams played an intense match from start to finish. Clearly, my team deserved (to reach) the final over the two legs,” Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told Mediaset.
“The lads did so well tonight, as we never dropped back an inch against a quality opponent.”
Defending champions Inter started on the front foot, racing into the lead after 15 minutes when midfielder Nicolo Barella played the ball through to Dimarco inside the box and he found the net with one touch.
Soon after the second half began, Edin Dzeko appeared to have doubled the hosts’ lead with a nice finish from a tight angle, but he was flagged offside.
Juve keeper Mattia Perin then pulled off a superb one-handed save to tip Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s attempt wide in the 73rd minute.
With time running out, Juve attempted to get through the Inter defence, but Inter keeper Andre Onana was alert to snuff out the danger.
Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri admitted that his team weren’t up to Inter’s level in various parts of the match.
“The sensation is the first half, especially the first 15 minutes, we were asleep. It was better from then on, but we didn’t have enough shots on goal and Inter are a very physical team,” he said.
“We need to improve the level of concentration and determination if we want to win matches.”