Inter qualified for the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday afternoon, beating Fiorentina 2-1 in extra time, thanks to a header from Romelu Lukaku.
I Nerazzurri took the lead in the 40th minute, when Alexis Sanchez was accused of being fouled by the Fiorentina goalkeeper, and Arturo Vidal landed the resulting kick.
The hosts then received a penalty for a Milan Skriniar tackle in the box, but referee Davide Massa overturned the decision after consulting with VAR. La Viola was tied in the second half, however, after a scramble in the six-meter penalty area, the ball fell to Christian Kouame 18 meters from goal, and he threw an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
Inter worked to regain their lead, with substitute Achraf Hakimi grazing the post with a nice kick and Alexis Sanchez inexplicably missing the target from inside the penalty area. The two teams couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes and the game went into overtime.
The game seemed destined for a penalty shootout until the 119th minute, when substitute Lukaku propelled a super header into the roof of the net from a perfect cross from Nicolo Barella, sending Inter to the next round and breaking the hearts of Fiorentina.
Let’s look at the player ratings for Wednesday’s big clash.
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 7/10 – Not at all tested in the first semester. Absolutely no chance of stopping Kouame’s thunderbolt. Made good saves to refuse Jack Bonaventura and Lorenzo Venuti.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 5/10 – Thrown a free head at the crossbar when he really should have hit the target. Picked up a reservation and was captioned on time.
Andrea Ranocchia (CB) – 7/10 – Used his physical strength well to dominate Kouame. Lost the ball at the back and almost allowed Fiorentina to equalize. It’s those mistakes that keep him out of the squad.
Aleksandar Kolarov (CB) – 6/10 – Timidly moved the ball away from danger, to push it towards another danger. His mistake allowed Fiorentina to return to the game.
Ashley Young (RWB) – 8/10 – Whipped a few dangerous low crosses from that right wing onto his stronger foot. He always offered his services on the sideline and was resolute in the follow-up. A great performance.
Arturo Vidal (CM) – 7/10 – Put on good sliding tackles to break up Fiorentina’s attacks and get Inter in motion. Smashed a penalty in the middle for opening his Nerazzurri account.
Christian Eriksen (CM) – 6/10 – Placed in a goalkeeper role for Inter, acting as a deep playmaker and protecting the baseline. Horribly misplaced a few assists, possibly due to his adaptation to a new role.
Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – 6/10 – Loaded from top to bottom on the pitch, operating in a slightly more advanced role for his fellow central midfielders. Fades from the game over the minutes.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – Never at his best when forced into a left-back role. Always more impressive to go forward than to cover the back. Delivered decent crosses that went unpunished. Improved over the course of the game.
Alexis Sanchez (ST) – 7/10 – Busy. Buzzed around the last third, looking crisp and nippy, pinching the ball and releasing it widely for the wingers. Hit the post at close range and win a penalty in the same action to open the scoring. Somehow, he failed to hit the house two yards away with all the target on him.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 6/10 – Fluffed an ambitious volley, producing a vintage air-kick. The ball never really fell for him in the penalty area. Smashed off a glorious chance to kill the match early in the second half.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 7/10
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 8/10
Achraf Hakimi (RWB) – 8/10
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 8/10
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 6/10