Inter Milan advanced to the Champions League semi-finals by beating Benfica 5-3 on aggregate, despite a 3-3 draw at San Siro in the second leg. Inter held a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Lisbon, which proved crucial as Benfica fought back with two late goals to recover from 3-1 down on the night.
Nicolò Barella, Lautaro Martínez, and substitute Joaquín Correa scored for Inter, while Fredrik Aursnes, Antonio Silva, and Petar Musa netted for Benfica. Inter will now face city rivals AC Milan in the semi-finals, a “special derby” according to Martínez, with a chance to reach the final in Istanbul.
Barella and Martinez combine to give Inter a commanding lead
Benfica started well, but Barella opened the scoring with a lovely curling finish into the corner, and Martínez and Barella combined to give Inter a three-goal lead on aggregate. Aursnes pulled one back before half-time, but Martínez restored the two-goal cushion in the 65th minute, and Correa scored minutes after coming on. Silva and Musa scored two late goals, but it was not enough to change the outcome of the tie.
The win was a much-needed boost for Inter, who had won just one of their previous eight games and had lost three consecutive home games without scoring. Martinez and Correa ended their goal droughts and secured their team’s place in the semi-finals against their city rivals. Inter are looking to win the Champions League for the first time since 2010 and become the first Serie A side to do so since then.