Inter Destroy Shakhtar as Lautaro, Lukaku Bag Double Brace

It was the night of Lautaro Martinez’s comeback and of Inter’s triumph. The Nerazzurri destroyed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the second Europa League Semi-Final with braces from both their strikers Lautaro and Romelu Lukaku (the so-called LuLa) on top of Danilo D’Ambrosio’s goal.

But while Lukaku’s one-two could be expected in view of the Belgian’s impressive state of form, it was Lautaro who made headlines in Dusseldorf on Monday night as the Argentine had been struggling since after the post-COVID restart – netting only one in Serie A and none in the Europa League.

Inter had not been featuring in a European Semi-Final since 2010, the year of the treble (or the Triplete, as it became known to the Nerazzurri). They surely made the best out of their chance and managed to bring an Italian club back to the Europa League last act after 21 years – to give you an idea, the last time that it happened, few people could yet read a football match recap on the Internet…

Inter will now face Europa League specialist Sevilla in the Final on Friday night in Cologne.

Everybody was expecting Romelu Lukaku but it was Lautaro Martinez to break the balance against Shakhtar after 19 minutes. Shakhtar’s goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov gift-wrapped the ball to Nicoló Barella with an imperfect pass and the Sardinian midfielder served Lautaro in the box, finding the Argentine’s winning header.

Pyatov’s mistake was indeed a consequence of Inter’s strategy as the Nerazzurri kept the pressure high for most of the first half, preventing Shakhtar from playing their game. When the Ukrainians did manage to break the siege and resorted to ball possession to get closer to the Nerazzurri‘s area, Inter closed them any space – even if a Marcos Antonio long-range shot in the 42nd minute did give a scare to Antonio Conte’s boys, ending not far from the goal target.

Lautaro Martinez seemed in a pretty bad state of form ever since the post-COVID restart, but on Monday night he led Inter to an easy win against Shakhtar Donetsk
Lautaro Martinez seemed in a pretty bad state of form ever since the post-COVID restart, but on Monday night he led Inter to an easy win against Shakhtar Donetsk

Lautaro, however, seemed on fire as, in the 47th minute, he stole the ball to Davit Khocholava and tried to catch Pyatov by surprise with a lob. The Ukrainian goalie managed to palm the ball away despite being dangerously far from his goal line.

Shakhtar gave some signs of life around the one-hour mark as a Mikola Matviyenko cross found Junior Moraes all alone in the box but the Brazilian’s header directed the ball right where Samir Handanovic was. Inter’s answer was lightning-fast and put a strong claim on the game as, just one minute later, Danilo D’Ambrosio’s header from a corner kick had better fortunes and ended in the back of the net.

The second goal hit coach Luis Castro’s side hard on morale. Inter could thus switch to a full-control mode and comfortably make it three in the 73rd minute when a Roberto Gagliardini pass found Lautaro Martinez for his second goal. El Toro then turned provider and offered Romelu Lukaku an easy chance to make it 4-0 – helping the Belgian to keep his Europa League scoring-streak open despite not being in his best night.

Was that over? Not at all, as Inter were unstoppable now and Lukaku decided to emulate his attacking partner by bagging a brace as well – and he did it all by himself this time, catching the ball at midfield and slotting it home after dashing past Khocholava.

Inter cruised past the Ukrainians at the end of a game that was never in discussion but, make no mistake, with Sevilla it’s going to be a different story – and surely a great Europa League Final to look forward to.



August 17, 2020 – Europa League 2019-20 Semi-Finals

SCORERS: 19′ Lautaro Martinez, 64′ D’Ambrosio, 73′ Lautaro Martinez, 77′ Lukaku, 83′ Lukaku

INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Bastoni; D’Ambrosio (79′ Moses), Barella, Brozovic (85 Sensi), Gagliardini, Young (66′ Biraghi); Lukaku (85′ Esposito), Lautaro Martinez (80′ Eriksen) (Padelli, Sanchez, Sensi, Ranocchia, Borja Valero, Pirola, Biraghi, Skriniar, Candreva) Coach: Conte
SHAKHTAR DONETSK (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Dodo, Kryvtsov, Khocholava, Matviyenko; Marcos Antonio, Stepanenko; Marlos (74′ Konoplyanka), Alan Patrick (58′ Solomon), Taison; Moraes (Trubin, Dentinho, Tete, Kovalenko, Maycon, Marquinhos Cipriano, Bolbat, Pikhalyonok, Bondar, Fernando) Coach: Castro

REFEREE: Marciniak (Poland)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Taison (S); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 1′