Inter Milan thrash Shakhtar Donetsk to reach Europa League final

Inter Milan - Europa League
Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images
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Inter Milan – Europa League finalists: Antonio Conte’s side book its place in Friday’s Europa League final, where they will face Sevilla, with a 5-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk in semifinal no. 2 on Monday.

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The goals came from Lautaro Martinez (twice), Danilo D’Ambrosio and Romelu Lukaku (also twice), as Inter started a tad slower than they finished the game, but eventually put Shakhtar to the sword with a relentless second-half performance.

Shakhtar were the architects of Inter’s opening goal in the 19th minute, as goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov’s clearance was far from fully cleared and fell to the onrushing Nicolo Barella with acres of space in front of him. Barella whipped a dangerous cross to the top of the six-yard box and Martinez rose quickly for a glancing header past Pyatov.

Inter went inches from doubling their lead just five minutes, but the final touch was lacking ever so slightly as the ball bounced around inside the six.

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Martinez so nearly scored the Goal of the Europa League shortly after the halftime restart. Romelu Lukaku flicked the ball on from a long ball over the top, sending it into Martinez’s path as he split the last two defenders between himself and Pyatov. His 40-yard chip attempt needed another few inches of loft to beat Pyatov, who scrambled back heroically and just managed to push it wide of his left-hand post.

The pressure never relented as Inter kept pushing and pushing for a second goal, and finally it came, via corner kick, in the 64th minute. Danilo D’Ambrosio rose above a crowd of bodies at the back post and put plenty of power behind his header to make it 2-0.

Just for good measure and a bit of insurance, Inter continued their incessant high-pressing and Martinez sent a low, stinging strike past Pyatov for 3-0 just 10 minutes later. Lukaku added his brace in the 78th and 83rd minutes, extending his run of having scored a goal in every Europa League game in which he has appeared this season, with only the final standing between himself and the unique achievement.