Lautaro Martínez's second-half strike sealed Inter's second-leg victory over city rivals AC Milan and clinched a first UEFA Champions League final appearance since 2010.
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Inter, the last Italian team to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy, reached their first final in this competition in 13 years thanks to Lautaro Martínez's second-half winner in their UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against city rivals Milan.
5': Long-range Hernández drive just over
11': Onana blocks low Brahim Díaz effort
38': Rafael Leão flashes shot across goal
39': Džeko header kept out by Maignan
41': Martínez sends strike narrowly over
74': Inter skipper squeezes in at near post
Match in brief: Martínez seals semi-final success
Stefano Pioli's Milan, boosted by the return from injury of Rafael Leão, were on the end of two early goals in last week's first leg, but appeared determined not to let that happen again this time round.
In fact, the Rossoneri could have taken the lead in spectacular fashion themselves inside the opening five minutes. Collecting a short Sandro Tonali pass from a free-kick out near the right, Theo Hernández's ambitious strike from 35 metres out caught André Onana by surprise, flying narrowly over the bar with the goalkeeper rooted to his line.
Soon after, Tonali's determination to get to the byline after dispossessing Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the left wing almost paid dividends. The midfielder's clever cut-back picked out Brahim Díaz on the edge of the box, but the 23-year-old opted for placement over power and his low effort was held by Onana.
Leão's return was muchly anticipated by those of a Milan persuasion and the Portuguese international – who struck twice and set up the other when the Rossoneri defeated their neighbours in Serie A earlier in the season – was the next to go close to opening the scoring. He bamboozled two defenders with a powerful run into the left of the box, but his crisp left-footed shot curled across the face of goal.
The Nerazzurri, and Edin Džeko in particular, profited from set pieces in the meeting six days previously and that route created Inter's first real opening of the game. Hakan Çalhanoğlu's sumptuous delivery from a free-kick out near the left touchline was met by Džeko's glancing header, but Mike Maignan's smart reaction stop prevented another semi-final goal for the 37-year-old forward.
Simone Inzaghi's men were in the ascendancy and captain Martínez was the next Inter forward to go close, sending a fierce, left-footed strike flashing past Maignan's right post.
It was the home skipper who eventually found the breakthrough in a cagey second half with 16 minutes remaining. He exploited some space to the left of goal before exchanging passes with substitute Romelu Lukaku and, with very little of the target to aim for, squeezed a low shot just inside Maignan's near post.
Milan could not find an answer, failing to force Onana into a second-half save, and their aggregate defeat might have been even heavier when Lukaku caught sight of goal in added time, but could only fire straight at Maignan.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Lautaro Martínez (Inter)
"He scored the goal, of course, but he always kept defenders busy and worked very hard defensively. A real captain."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Paolo Menicucci, Inter reporter
A very even return leg with Martínez’s goal making the difference in the second half. Inter, however, had already done the groundwork in the first leg and qualification was rarely in doubt tonight. Five clean sheets in six knockout stage games and key players reaching top form when it counts the most? Inzaghi's men can certainly dare to dream.
Vieri Capretta, Milan reporter
The Rossoneri started this game brightly, but still lacked something in the final third across the course of the match. They had a mountain to climb after the first leg, but simply didn't manage it. Inter were mostly in control, and despite a couple of early chances, with both Brahim Díaz and Rafael Leão going close, Milan never really threatened. It was a fairly even tie on paper and in the end the better side progressed.
Glenn Hoddle, BT Sport
"Inter have quality, no doubt about it. Whoever they play against will be the favourites and will have possession of the ball, but there is quality in this team. The back five know how to defend."
Lautaro Martínez, goalscorer and Player of the Match: "We did a great job in both matches. The key was the group. I had a similar experience at the World Cup: if you are united, you get to play these very important matches in the best possible way."
Simone Inzaghi, Inter coach: "In the next few days we will realise what we have achieved. For us it was a dream but we have always believed in it. It was an extraordinary path. Winning a derby in the semi-final like this brings great satisfaction."
Stefano Pioli, Milan coach: "The players gave their all in both legs. Inter deserved to win and we congratulate them."
Davide Calabria, Milan captain: "This is a starting point. No one could have expected Milan to be in a Champions League semi-final. We gave everything we had. I don't want negative thoughts now, we have to focus on a top-four finish in the league."
- Inter are yet to be behind in the knockout stage of this season's competition.
- Martínez hit his eighth goal against the Rossoneri, the most he has scored against any team for Inter.
- The Inter forward became the second Argentinian to score for the club in the Champions League semi-finals after Diego Milito in 2009/10.
- Simone Inzaghi's side have kept eight clean sheets in this season's competition, more than any other side.
- Milan have failed to score in the last four meetings with their neighbours – the first time they have done so in this fixture.
Francesco Acerbi – 8 points
Lautaro Martínez – 8 points
Alessandro Bastoni – 7 points
Inter: Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella (Gagliardini 84), Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Mkhitaryan (Brozović 44), Dimarco (Gosens 66); Martínez (Correa 84), Džeko (Lukaku 66)
Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw (Kalulu 64), Tomori, Hernández; Tonali, Krunić; Junior Messias (Saelemaekers 76), Brahim Díaz (Origi 76), Rafael Leão; Giroud
Inter are the nominal away side when they play Real Madrid or Man City in the final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on Saturday 10 June.