Inter 1-0 Juventus (2-1 agg): Dimarco sends holders into final

By Sports Desk April 26, 2023

Federico Dimarco scored the only goal of the game as Inter kept their Coppa Italia defence on course with a 1-0 semi-final win over Juventus, securing a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

The Nerazzurri, who defeated Juve in last year's final, will face either Cremonese or Fiorentina – the latter leading 2-0 ahead of Thursday's second leg – in this season's showpiece on May 24 at Stadio Olimpico.

Inter headed into Wednesday's clash at San Siro with the semi-final tie finely poised at 1-1 after a fiery first leg, although Dimarco's neat first-half finish soon had Simone Inzaghi's hosts in control.

Edin Dzeko saw a strike ruled out for offside in the second half as Massimiliano Allegri's side crashed out of the Coppa with a whimper.

Inter started at a frenetic pace and should have taken a third-minute lead when Nicolo Barella's right-wing cross found Dzeko, who bundled wide at the back post.

Yet the hosts' early dominance was rewarded after 15 minutes as Dimarco coolly rolled into the bottom-left corner following Barella's delicate throughball.

A fine Andre Onana stop from Filip Kostic's arrowing drive was required to keep Inter's lead intact, while Mattia Perin denied a low Lautaro Martinez effort with an equally impressive save.

Another attempt from range by Fabio Miretti tested Onana after the interval, before Dzeko saw a driven finish chalked off for offside from Dimarco's pinpoint pass.

Perin thwarted Henrikh Mkhitaryan late on to limit the damage as Inter advanced into another Coppa final.

 

What does it mean? Inter alleviate Serie A concerns with more cup joy

Inter are facing a battle to finish in Italy's top four in Serie A for a place in Europe next season, but their cup exploits have kept the Nerazzurri faithful with reason to cheer.

Inzaghi's side are into the Champions League semi-finals, where they face fierce rivals Milan across a two-legged tie, while they remain on course to defend their Coppa Italia crown.

Juve, meanwhile, may have been buoyed by the reversal of their 15-point deduction in Serie A, but the Europa League now represents the Bianconeri's only chance of silverware this season.

Deadly Dimarco

Dimarco continues to be an unlikely source of goals for Inter this season, chipping in with the opener for his fifth strike in all competitions – four of those assisted by Barella.

Across the last 10 seasons for Inter, Achraf Hakimi (seven goals in 2020-21) is the only defender to manage more than Dimarco's tally in the 2022-23 campaign.

Strikerless plan fails for Allegri

Allegri opted to start without a recognised striker, leaving his only out-and-out number nine Arkadiusz Milik on the bench after choosing Federico Chiesa to play up top with Angel Di Maria.

The Juve coach soon introduced Milik at half-time but that did little to improve the Bianconeri's fortunes as they rarely tested Onana in a timid showing that belied their gutsy first-leg performance.

What's next?

Inter return to Serie A action at home to Lazio on Sunday, when Juventus visit Bologna.

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