LISBON: Inter Milan put an end to their month-long winless streak as they won the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Benfica 2-0 at Estadio da Luz in Portugal on Tuesday.
Goals from Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku came in the second half for Inter Milan which lifted the spirits of the Italian football fans at Lisbon. They are in a position good enough to reach the semifinal of a European competition for the first time in more than a decade.
Aiming to win five straight Champions League games for the first time since 1990, Benfica was initially in control, but a header from Barella off a long cross by Alessandro Bastoni in the 51st minute gave Inter Milan a lead in the 51st minute.
It was followed by a penalty conversion by substitute Lukakun in the 82nd minute. The penalty was determined by a video review for handball by Benfica’s Joao Mario inside the scoring area.
Meanwhile, it was Benfica’s first Champions League loss in 13 matches this season. They started off the competition in the third qualifying round and surprised everyone by overcoming sides like Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Juventus.
Inter went winless in six matches in across all competitions, with their last victory coming against Lecce in the Italian league in March. Benfica were heading into the match with loss to rivals Porto in the Portuguese league but had emerged victorious in 13 of their last 15 matches in all competitions since then.
The winner of the tie between Inter and Benfica will face either AC Milan or Napoli in the semi-finals of the prestigious championship. The second leg will take place on April 19 in Milan.
Earlier, Manchester City registered a 3-0 win against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie at home in Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
In the early stages of the match, Jack Grealish lifted up the spirits of the home crowd and in-form striker Erling Haaland also had two chances, which were far from his best and could not be converted.
Rodri’s curling shot in the 27th minute gave City the early advantage they were looking for as he set his left-footed shot wide of the far post and the ball was sent curling into the top corner, with Yans Sommer’s scrambling going to waste.
Rodri’s curling shot from distance in the first half gave Pep Guardiola’s side the lead against the German champions before Bernardo Silva headed in a second after the interval. Leroy Sane tested Ederson repeatedly in between but Bayern’s defensive frailty was clear.’
At half-time, scoreline read 1-0 in favour of the home side.
In the 70th minute, Silva’s turn to score arrived as he received a pass from Haaland and sent it past the keeper with a header. Yans tried to keep it out of the nets, but could not.
In the 76th minute, Haaland made full use of opportunity and freedom in the box to score, latching onto John Stones’ header and he cushioned the shot beyond Yans. (ANI)