Last Minute Lukaku Goal Sends Inter to Coppa Italia Quarter Finals

So, it’s going to be a Derby di Milano again in Coppa Italia. As it happened in a few occasions already – most recently in 2017 – Inter and Milan will be facing each other in the Quarter Finals of the domestic cup as the Nerazzurri bested Fiorentina in their Round of 16 match with a last-minute extra-time goal from – who else? – Romelu Lukaku.

Antonio Conte got what he needed but he must not be overly happy about his side’s performance as Inter had to fight until the very end of the extra time to overcome the Viola‘s resistance despite dominating for most of the game.

These 30 additional extra minutes may make a difference when they face Juventus next Sunday in Serie A – assuming, of course, that the Bianconeri won’t also go to extra times when they face Genoa in Coppa Italia tonight…

But the bad news for Conte don’t end here: Stefano Sensi was expected to finally return as a starter among the Nerazzurri lines but injured himself again during the warm up. So, in went Arturo Vidal. Conte made seven changes comparing to his last Serie A game against Roma, including deploying Christian Eriksen in a playmaker position.

For Fiorentina, Cesare Prandelli lined up most of his regular starters – a sign that he was taking the domestic competition pretty seriously.

The match had a slow start, as it often happens with mid-week Coppa Italia matches, and so it took an isolated episode to break the deadlock: From an Eriksen shot, Fiorentina’s backup goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano fouled Alexis Sanchez and the VAR certified a penalty for the Nerazzurri. From the spot, Arturo Vidal made no mistake.

Inter should have doubled their lead right after the restart, but Lautaro Martinez came up with a somewhat inexplicable mistake as he failed to tap the ball in from point-blank range from an Ivan Perisic cross. It was a mistake Inter would pay for, as Fiorentina progressively gained confidence after an anonymous first half.

Prandelli sent in Dusan Vlahovic on 52 minutes and the Serbian confirmed his good state of form, providing support to his front line partner Christian Kouamé. It was the Ivorian to draw level for Fiorentina with a fine shot from the edge of the box just five minutes after Vlahovic’s entrance.

Antonio Conte, on the other hand, resorted to Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi for the last 20 minutes of the game, but was once again betrayed by his strikers – this time, it was Sanchez to miss a very favorable chance in the box. Ninety minutes were not enough to break the balance and the extra times were needed. That’s the last thing Conte and Inter were hoping for.

But, at least, the Nerazzurri managed to avoid a penalty shootout drama and book their place into the Quarter Finals thanks to Lukaku who, first, found Terracciano’s deflection form a close-range header, and then – with just one minute to go – bested his marker Lucas Martinez Quarta to slot the ball home and pull the chestnuts out of the fire for Conte.



January 12, 2021 – Coppa Italia 2020-21 Round of 16
FIORENTINA-INTER 1-2 after extra time

SCORERS: 40′ Vidal (I, pen.), 57′ Kouamé (F), 119′ Lukaku (I)

FIORENTINA (3-5-2): Terracciano; Milenkovic, Quarta, Igor; Caceres (52′ Venuti), Amrabat, Bonaventura, Castrovilli, Biraghi; Eysseric (52′ Vlahovic), Kouamé (97′ Callejon) (Brancolini, Dragowski, Borja Valero, Duncan, Pezzella, Barreca, Montiel, Krastev, Dalle Mura) Coach: Prandelli
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar (61′ De VriJ), Ranocchia, Kolarov; Young (69′ Hakimi), Gagliardini (81′ Barella), Eriksen, Vidal (93′ Brozovic), Perisic; Sanchez, Lautaro Martinez (69′ Lukaku) (Padelli, Radu, Sensi, Bastoni) Coach: Conte

REFEREE: Mr. Massa from Imperia
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Eysseric, Bonaventura, Igor (F), Skriniar, Eriksen, Vidal, Hakimi, Ranocchia, Sanchez, Lukaku (I)

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