MILAN – The Nerazzurri side are through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals after an intense clash against Empoli at the San Siro that took the hosts to extra time. Alexis Sánchez’s opener sank a loose first half 13′ into the game, although Nedim Barjami’s second-half goal and Ionut Radu’s second put the home side on the ropes until the end of the game.
Then Andrea Ranocchia arrived to force extra time in added time in the second half with a semi-Chilean equaliser. Later, Simone Inzaghi’s men managed to score the winning goal thanks to Stefano Sensi’s goal before the end of the first half. Final score? A 3-2 in favor of our Inter.
In short, and seven days after the surprising Supercopa victory thanks to Alexis Sánchez’s goal in the 120th minute, the Meazza was once again the scene of an extraordinary Wednesday of late drama. Once again the Nerazzurri had to resort to extra time, and it was a player who has been at the club for no less than 11 years, Andrea Ranocchia, who scored perhaps the best goal of his career to prevent Empoli from become with victory. in added time, after 90 minutes. Stefano Sensi appeared in the 104th minute with a powerful forehand to put Inter through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, which will lead the San Siro to the winner of the clash between Roma and Lecce.
The only stain of the night was the early injury of Joaquín Correa, who left the pitch in tears at 2 minute.
Although no trophies were at stake this time, winning was the only way to continue the team’s run in the Coppa Italia, and securing a place in the quarter-finals would ensure that the club’s goals for the season remain intact. .
Inzaghi introduced changes to the side which drew 0-0 with Atalanta but had to shuffle his squad early on after a poor tackle on Correa in midfield forced the forward to retire with a thigh injury. Sánchez came on for him and wasted no time to open the scoring with an accurate header after Denzel Dumfries’ sensational cross from the right.
Empoli managed to keep the hosts at bay as the first half wore on and was buoyed by Aurelio Andreazzoli’s second-half substitutions, when Nedim Bajrami equalized with a fine left-footed shot from inside the surfaced in the 61st minute.
Patrick Cutrone sent in a 76th-minute header and luck was on his side as the ball smashed into the crossbar before hitting Ionut Radu with his heel and into the net to give Empoli an unlikely lead.
Inter had 15 minutes to salvage their Coppa Italia campaign and just as those minutes ticked away Ranocchia appeared to acrobatically head a bouncy ball to the top corner and delight the 5,000 fans in attendance.
For the second time in one day, the Nerazzurri reached extra time at the San Siro, but this time a new hero was needed. Inzaghi brought on Sensi in place of Lautaro in what turned out to be a masterstroke, as the midfielder controlled the ball at the edge of the box before firing a right-footed shot into the top corner. The Nerazzurri qualified for the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a 3-2 win.
Inter 3-2 Empoli (AET)
scorers: Sanchez 13, Bajrami 61, Radu 76 (JO), Ranocchia 90, Sensi 104.
INTER (3-5-2):97 Radu; 33 D’Ambrosio, 13 Ranocchia, 32 Dimarco; 2 Dumfries, 22 Vidal (23 Barella, 65), 8 Vecino (20 Calhanoglu, 65), 5 Gagliardini (9 Dzeko, 77), 36 Darmian (14 Perisic, 65); 10 Lautaro (12 Sensi, 94), 19 Correa (7 Sanchez, 5).
Substitutes on the bench: 1 Handanovic, 21 Cordaz, 6 De Vrij, 11 Kolarov, 37 Skriniar, 95 Bastoni.
Coach: Simone Inzagi.
EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): 22 Furlan; 20 Fiamozzi (30 Stojanovic, 71), 42 Viti, 6 Romagnoli, 3 Marchizza (34 Ismajli, 85); 27 Zurkowski (28 Ricci, 46), 5 Stulac, 25 Bandinelli (8 Henderson, 46); 23 Asllani (16 Fazzini, 98); 99 Pinamonti (10 Bajrami, 46), 9 Cutrone.
Substitutes on the bench: 1 Ujkani, 13 Vicario, 21 Damiani, 26 Tonelli, 31 Rizza, 36 Pezzola.
Coach: Aurelio Andreazzoli.
reserve: Neighbor, Romagnoli.
Extra time : 2+5+1+0.
Participants: Bottegoni, Margani.
Official room: Dove.
VAR wizard: Vivenzi.
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