Europa Cup Quarter-finals review; Inter Milan, Manchester United
2019-20 Europa Cup Quarter-finals review
Lukaku powers Inter to Europa semi-finals
Inter-Milan made their passage into the semi-finals of the Europa League beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on the back of Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku goals at the Dusseldorf Arena on Monday night. Chelsea target Kai Havertz gave Leverkusen some hope when he equalized but it wasn't enough to prevent elimination from the Last 8.
Inter Milan 2 Bayer Leverkusen 1
The Nerazzurri made a bright start to the proceedings on the August 10th night when a goal-bound Lukaku shot blocked by Daley Sinkgraven fell gently to Barella who placed a 20-yard grounder to the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0 in the 15th minute of play.
Barella nearly found a second when he took a low cross from Lautaro Martinez's and forced goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky into a smart save with his feet.
But inter had to wait only 6 more minutes for their second of the night with Lukaku controlling a Ashley Young's pass, turning past a defender to slot in his 31st goal of the season.
It was also the 9th consecutive game Lukaku had scored in the competition (a new Europa League record).
The 27-year old Belgian striker could have scored one more when he was set free by Marcelo Brozovic but was effectively thwarted by Hradecky.
Inter were made to pay for those couple of misses in the 24th minute. Lars Bender's shot was blocked by Diego Godin with the ball falling to Kevin Holland. Holland' pulled back a pass from the line to Havertz who wriggled through to hammer a powerful shot that was too strong for Inter custodian Samir Handanovic to stop.
Inter thought they had a two-goal cushion when a penalty awarded was overturned after Daley Sinkgraven seemed to have handled Danilo D'Ambrosio's cross.
Lukaku missed out on one more penalty that was awarded after Christian Eriksen was fouled by Karim Bellarabi inside the box, but VAR replays showed a handball by Barella in the build-up.
The Serie A runners-up were even more strong in the second half with substitute Alexis Sanchez and Victor Moses coming close to scoring in quick succession.
Leon Bailey came off the bench for Leverkusen to inject some urgency and it was his teasing cross with 10 minutes remaining that just evaded Havertz and Volland – but it was Inter who always looked to take the tie home.
Antonio Conte's men who are now only two games away from winning their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2011 will meet the winners of the Shakhtar Donetsk-Basel tie on the 17th August semi-finals.
Bruno Fernandes penalty sees Red Devils through to Last 4.
It need an extra-time penalty that took Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to the semi-finals of the 2019-20 Europa Cup after a barren display by both sides in the stipulated 90 minutes of playing time.
Manchester United 1 FC Copenhagen 0
United were especially frustrated in their attempts to score by some excellent goalkeeping by Karl-Johan Johnsson who made as many as 13 saves in the course of the match.
On a steamy Cologne night, Copenhagen started by pressing United, catching Fred off possession while Mohamed Daramy and Jens Stage let shots fly only to be saved by Sergio Romero.
United seemed to have taken the lead much against the run of play when Martial went down under pressure from Victor Nelsson, but after a delay the VAR ruled out the penalty for offside.
VAR again denied the Red Devils one more goal when Marcus Rashford sent one through to Mason Greenwood who thumped in to finish.
The replays showed the assistant referee having missed a clear offside and VAR overturned the Greenwood strike that came at the stroke of half-time.
The game began post the interval with United severely testing the Copenhagen defense. Rashford had the ball in the net in the 57th minute but the striker was correctly flagged offside.
Fernandes tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot hit the frame. Another 25-yarder from Martial, this time, was superbly saved by the tireless Johnsson.
The Danish side side had a chance coming their way late into the game when Everton full-back Bryan Oviedo was thwarted by a brilliant block from Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
As the match petered into a goal-less state at the end of 90 minutes, quality was the call of the hour to break the deadlock. It came in extra-time.
Martial wriggled through to get away another shot saved by Johnsson and had just got back to his feet when Andreas Bjelland bundled into his back while the French forward was collecting a Juan Mata pass.
A welcome penalty was awarded and Fernandes did the rest from the spot. It was a one-way traffic after the 95th minute opener as Solskjaer's men went on a hunt for a second one but Copenhagen custodian Johnsson stood in the way of more goals.
He superbly denied Fernandes, before halting the impressive Mata with his feet and seeing Victor Lindelof hit a post.
The Red Devils now meet whoever wins the Wolves-Sevilla clash of Tuesday night for a semi-final showdown at Dusseldorf on Sunday.
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