Lautaro Martinez was the star of the night as Inter Milan saw off arch-rivals AC Milan for a spot in the Coppa Italia final.

What was touted as a titanic clash between Italy’s two best sides turned into a romp for Inter Milan as they dispatched arch-rivals AC Milan by a score of 3-0 to book their place in the Coppa Italia final.

Both sides are neck to neck against each other in the race for the Serie A title and also appeared to be on course for a domestic double. Milan are now left to focus on just the league title race as the Nerazzurri turned up in what was an excellent first half for the home side.

Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring for Simone Inzaghi’s side in the fourth minute, handing Inter the momentum in the first half. The Argentine doubled his tally in the 40th minute to all but knock the air out of Milan’s sails before half-time.

The Rossoneri, to their credit, came out flying after the break and even had a goal chalked off for offside. Whatever Stefano Pioli said at half-time worked as his side were largely the dominant team in the second 45 minutes.

But Inter grabbed the third goal on the night, thanks to January signing Robin Gosens. The Nerazzurri have now booked a date in the final while also handing themselves a psychological boost in the race for the Scudetto. How this result will impact the title race in the weeks to come remains to be seen. For now, The Hard Tackle looks at how both sets of players fared on the night.

Inter Milan

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

The veteran did a fine job in goal and was on guard to keep Milan at bay in the first half. This not just helped his side hold onto their lead but also gave them enough breathing space going into the break. He was beaten once on the night but thankfully for Inter, the goal was chalked off for being offside.

Milan Skriniar: 8/10

Skriniar put in an excellent performance that helped him nullify almost anything Milan threw at him. Defending against the duo of Rafael Leao and Theo Hernandez is not easy, but the Slovakian defender was more or less a wall on the night.

Stefan de Vrij: 7/10

The Dutch international rolled back the years in a vintage display where he showed Milan what he is capable of. He marshalled Olivier Giroud and also organised his rearguard well in what was an effective defensive display.

Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10

The Italian started despite picking up a knock at the weekend. Perhaps it was because of his injury, but he struggled to get forward and support Ivan Perisic on the left flank. Bastoni was solid defensively and made several key blocks and tackles that undid  Milan’s offensive efforts. He put in a proper shift before limping off in the 79th minute.

Matteo Darmian: 7/10

The Italian is defensively better than Denzel Dumfries and received the nod on the night. He silenced his doubters with a display that made a difference at both ends of the pitch. Darmian provided the assist for Martinez’s opener and was positionally very aware of the threat Milan offered on the night.

Nicolo Barella: 7/10

The UEFA Euro 2020 hero appears to have found his best form at the right moment and put in yet another impressive showing on the night. He was keen to get stuck in and aided Marcelo Brozovic in aiding Inter in the midfield battle. He also carried the ball forward well and used his movement to disrupt the Milan formation.

Marcelo Brozovic: 8/10

The Croat owned the midfield on the night and orchestrated Inter’s fine performance. He has taken his game up a notch since penning the contract extension and appears to have put his poor spell of form behind him. Brozovic looks to be back to his best, and it augurs well for Inter ahead of the run-in. He provided the killer pass that killed off the tie in the 82nd minute.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10

The Turkish international was Inter’s poorest starter on the night. While he did have his moments and was not lacking for effort, Calhanoglu’s inability to translate intent into results was palpable.  Thankfully for him, it did not make much of a difference as the other players stepped up.

Ivan Perisic: 9/10

The Croatian veteran was a sight to behold on the night and was a constant menace to Milan at both ends of the pitch. Perisic did everything that was asked of him and more, except maybe finding the back of the net. It was otherwise, a complete performance by the veteran.

Joaquin Correa: 8/10

The former Napoli man appears to be coming into his element at Inter and has started to put together a string of fine performances. Correa’s movement often disturbed the Milan defence who were unable to pin him down. He also provided a lovely assist for Lautaro Martinez’s second goal.

Lautaro Martinez: 9/10

The Argentine striker was Inter’s best player on the night and made the difference with unerring proficiency. He did not just take his chances well but also worked his socks off, chasing down the AC Milan players and closing them down from the front. It was arguably his finest performance for Inter in recent times.

SUBSTITUTES

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

Dzeko replaced an exhausted Martinez in the 70th minute but did not have much to offer in attack. However, he essayed his defensive duties well as Inter sought to protect their lead.

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

Sanchez replaced Correa in the 70th minute and did well to hold the ball up in the attack.

Arturo Vidal: 6/10

The Chilean replaced the underwhelming Calhanolgu in the 73rd minute, injecting fresh energy and enthusiasm in the middle of Inter’s formation. He helped the Italian champions see off the game with minimal fuss.

Robin Gosens: 7/10

Gosens replaced Perisic in the 79th minute and did the only thing that the Croat could not on the night – score a goal.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

D’Ambrosio replaced Bastoni in the 79th minute and did a fine job of continuing from where the 23-year-old left off.

AC Milan

Mike Maignan: 5/10

The Frenchman endured a difficult night where he was beaten thrice. He should perhaps have done better to save the first goal but can not really be faulted for the AC Milan defence’s inability to tighten their ranks.

Davide Calabria: 5/10

Calabria missed the weekend’s clash but returned to the lineup on the night. It was a mixed bag for the Italian, who was both good and bad in equal measure. His attacking output was non-existent, while Perisic also got the better of him on his flank.

Pierre Kalulu: 5/10

The Frenchman struggled to build a rapport with Tomori on the night and was responsible for Inter’s third goal of the night. He largely struggled against the movement of Inter’s front two and had a night to forget.

Fikayo Tomori: 4/10

It was arguably Tomori’s poorest performance for Milan since joining permanently from Chelsea last summer. Martinez had his number on the night and left the Englishman in his wake for both of his goals on the night.

Theo Hernandez: 5/10

Hernandez is often a bundle of energy on the left flank but failed to get going on the night. While he did make efforts to get forward, the Frenchman lacked the end product and struggled to deliver accurate crosses or shoot when handed the opportunity.

Ismael Bennacer: 5/10

Bennacer was arguably the best of Milan’s starters and was not lacking in effort on the night. While he did give away the ball at times, Bennacer also won possession back several times and was the lone Milan midfielder to trouble Inter. He looked to have got the Rossoneri back into the tie with a fine strike in the second half, only for it to be chalked off by VAR.

Sandro Tonali: 5/10

Tonali never quite got into the groove and struggled to impose himself on the Inter players. He was largely pegged back in the first half and was pulled by Stefano Pioli at half-time as Milan looked to find a way back into the match.

Alexis Saelemaekers: 4/10

The Belgian failed to provide the creative spark and was limited to a sole shot on target all night. He has been off colour for a while now and appears to be a pale shadow of the player who impressed earlier in the season.

Franck Kessie: 5/10

The Ivory Coast international was one of Milan’s better players on the night. But it does not say much given that most of the team was under par. Kessie, to his credit, tried his best to kick-start attacks but was unable to pull it off more often than not.

Rafael Leao: 6/10

Leao, to his credit, tested Handanovic twice but could find no way past the Inter Milan shot-stopper. The AC Milan talisman did not lack intent and tried his best to make something happen. While his application cannot be faulted, serious questions need to be asked about the lack of end product.

Olivier Giroud: 4/10

Giroud battled hard all night, but the lack of service did him no favours.  He also came out second best in most duels and looked off his game on the night.

SUBSTITUTES

Junior Messias: 4/10

While he did inject more energy on the right flank, the Brazilian was only fractionally better than Saelemaekers on the night. Messias’s lack of output did little to aid Milan’s cause on the night.

Brahim Diaz: 6/10

The Spaniard was inspiring off the bench and was arguably Milan’s best creative player on the night. His introduction added momentum to Milan’s attack and gave them more impetus going forward. Unfortunately, they could not sustain it and struggled to break down a hardy Inter rearguard.

Matteo Gabbia: 5/10

Gabbia’s positioning was suspect on the night, and he should have done better to react to Inter’s build-up for their third goal.

Rade Krunic: N/A

The Bosnian came on in the second half but had little to write home about.

Marko Lazetic: N/A

The youngster made his Milan debut on the night. However, it will not be a result that he will look back at with fondness.

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