STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – In-form Atalanta were knocked out of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night by Inter as Matteo Darmian netted the only goal in a 1-0 win for the reigning champions.
The victory in Milan means that the Nerazzurri will face either Lazio or Juventus in the semi-final.
Simone Inzaghi’s men put up a convincing display and their deserved 1-0 win put an end to La Dea’s six-game unbeaten streak, which started in November just after another defeat to the Biscione.
A banner reading ‘love and respect Inter‘, addressed to both players and club executives, was put out before the match in the wake of the mismanagement which recently led captain Milan Skriniar to reportedly agree terms with PSG for a free transfer.
Intense but uneventful first half
Despite Skriniar’s situation, the home fans quickly created a supportive atmosphere making their voice heard, which was probably the most entertaining part of a first half that saw both sides play with intensity but create very little, at least until the closing minutes.
Nicolò Barella had Inter’s first shot of the night which was easily stopped by Juan Musso, but it wasn’t until the 41st minute that the hosts posed their first real threat, as a brilliant left-footed shot from Hakan Calhanoglu was denied by the post.
The visitors gave Inter a late scare just before the break, when Duvan Zapata was left completely free only to clumsily head the ball over the bar.
Darmian strikes to earn Inter’s semi-final place
Atalanta had to blame themselves for wasting their best chance of the night through Joakim Maehle, who picked up a ball deflected by Onana to blaze it over the bar. Gian Piero Gasperini tried to shake his side up by sending on Ademola Lookman and Rasmus Hojlund, but the duo didn’t have time to make an impact.
Relentless and precise, Calhanoglu made his night even more impressive when he shielded the ball and played a through pass that Lautaro smartly flicked into the path of Darmian, who hit a precise low drive toward the far post to put Inter ahead.
Following the hosts’ goal, Jeremie Boga was the only Atalanta player able to scare Onana, but his two shots in the space of a few minutes were either off target or saved by the goalkeeper.
A late assault didn’t pay off for the visitors, as Inter held firm in the final minutes to earn their fourth consecutive qualification for the Coppa Italia semifinals.