Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan found the net as Inter took control of their Champions League semi-final against AC Milan with a 2-0 first leg victory.
Inter shocked their city rivals with two goals in the first 11 minutes and could easily have silenced the semi-final after a stunning first-half performance.
Milan improved after the break but should consider themselves lucky to still be within reach of the 2010 Champions League winners after a sub-par performance in front of their home fans.
The fierce rivals had not met in the Champions League since the 2005 quarter-final, which was interrupted 73 minutes into the second leg when a number of Inter Milan fans hurled flares onto the pitch, one of which struck and injured Milan goalkeeper Dida.
AC Milan, in the running for their eighth European Cup trophy and first final since their 2007 success, suffered a major blow before kick-off with striker Rafael Leao ruled out with a muscle injury and was soon swept away from a violent start to Simone Inzaghi’s side.
Inter were ahead after just eight minutes when ex-Manchester City striker Dzeko slipped past Davide Calabria from Federico Dimarco’s corner and hammered a volley from 12 meters past the helpless Mike Maignan into the Milan goal.
And they had a second just three minutes later. Dimarco was released down the left and cut the ball across the area into the path of the onrushing Mkhitaryan, who marched through the Milan defense to strike Maignan.
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The Rossoneri were all in the balance and Inter came within inches of third when ex-Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu lashed a shot from 25 yards into the post, before Maignan blocked Mkhitaryan’s shot from close range.
There was a great moment of relief for Stefano Pioli’s side after Inter were awarded a 31st-minute penalty when Lautaro Martinez went down under a foul by Simon Kjaer. But Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano was asked to review his decision by the VAR and decided to reverse his original call.
Martinez landed a high shot just before Denzel Dumfries failed to apply the finishing touch to Dimarco’s cross shot as Inter continued to dominate the first half.
Milan started the second half much better. Brahim Diaz curled just wide from 20 yards and Junior Messias squandered a great chance when he crossed on goal.
Dzeko was denied by a good one-on-one save from Maignan, but Milan’s improvement continued and substitute Divock Origi played a key role in assisting Sandro Tonali, whose shot was hit at the base of the left post.
But Inter dampened Milan’s revival and took a big step towards the final in Istanbul.
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