Inter Milan ease past Lazio to set up Supercoppa Italiana final against Napoli

By Sports Desk January 19, 2024

Brilliant Inter Milan remained on course for a hat-trick of Supercoppa Italiana crowns after swatting aside Lazio 3-0 in their semi-final in Riyadh.

The Serie A leaders will play reigning Italian champions Napoli, 3-0 winners over Fiorentina on Thursday, in Monday’s final after goals from Marcus Thuram, Hakan Calhanoglu and Davide Frattesi earned victory in an emphatically one-sided clash.

Inter came flying out of the blocks in the Saudi Arabian capital and, in a sign of things to come, fashioned three decent openings inside the first seven minutes for Thuram (two) and Nicolo Barella.

They failed to take advantage of those but did not have to wait much longer for the breakthrough, Thuram getting the goal he had been threatening in the 17th minute.

Alessandro Bastoni’s low cross to the front post was flicked between his legs by Federico Dimarco – perhaps attempting an audacious effort on goal himself – which ended up taking four Lazio defenders out of play and leaving the unmarked Thuram with a simple tap-in.

That was no more than Simone Inzaghi’s team deserved and they should really have been out of sight by half-time after peppering the Lazio goal with shots and crosses.

Matteo Darmian tested Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, who later spilled Lautaro Martinez’s deflected shot but reacted well to push the ball behind before Thuram could slot home his second of the night.

Inter came even closer in the 36th minute when, following a brilliant move down the left, Dimarco picked out Barella in the middle and the Italy midfielder smashed a volley against the top of the crossbar.

Darmian also blazed wide at the far post and Thuram saw a goalbound shot blocked as the one-way traffic continued but, incredibly, Lazio only trailed by one at half-time.

However, their good fortune was not to last, with Inter making it 2-0 from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half.

A VAR review convinced referee Matteo Marchetti that Pedro had clipped the back of Martinez’s legs and spot-kick expert Calhanoglu clinically drilled home the resulting penalty.

Martinez should have made it 3-0 soon after, thumping the underside of the bar from 10 yards out, and Serie A’s leading scorer drilled inches wide just before the hour as Lazio were ripped apart time and again.

The Roman outfit tried to find some way back into the game but Inter remained in complete control and Thuram saw another chance go begging before he and captain Martinez both made way in a double substitution in the 74th minute.

That temporarily afforded Lazio some much-needed respite but Maurizio Sarri’s men never threatened to turn things round and the Nerazzurri wrapped the game up in the 87th minute when substitute Frattesi finished off a counter-attack.

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