Internazionale reached the semi-finals of the Europa League on Monday evening at the expense of Bayer Leverkusen. Thanks to a strong opening phase, Stefan de Vrij’s team was 2-1 too strong for the formation of trainer Peter Bosz.
After just over twenty minutes, Inter was already 2-0 ahead in the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf by goals from Nicolò Barella and Romelu Lukaku. Shortly thereafter, the connection goal by Kai Havertz followed, but Inter held up fairly easily after the break and joined the last four.
As usual, De Vrij was at the kick-off at Inter and completed the ninety minutes. At Bosz’s Leverkusen there was a starting spot for former Ajax player Daley Sinkgraven, who was replaced in the 68th minute for Brazilian Wendell.
The Europa League will be completed in tournament form this month due to the corona crisis, with Germany as the playing country. The matches from the quarter-finals to the final are settled over one game, just like in the Champions League.
The other posters in the quarter-finals of the Europa League are Shakhtar Donetsk-FC Basel – the winner plays against Inter – and Wolverhampton Wanderers-Sevilla. Those games are scheduled on Tuesday evening. The duels in the semi-finals will follow Sunday and Monday and the final will be on Friday, August 21.
Romelu Lukaku works the ball into the goal with difficulty and signs for the 2-0. (Photo: Getty Images)
Inter makes a difference against Leverkusen in the opening phase
Inter was much too strong for Leverkusen in the first twenty minutes and that dominance led to the 1-0 after fifteen minutes. After a ricochet shot from Lukaku, the ball reached midfielder Barella, who hit the left corner with the outside of his foot.
Leverkusen had barely recovered from the opening goal when the 2-0 was a fact. Lukaku got the ball in the penalty area, made himself wide and hit the ball in the turn just hard enough to score. Shortly afterwards, the Belgian should also have made the 3-0, but he ran into Lukás Hrádecký from close by.
Until then, Leverkusen had shown almost nothing and the connection goal in the 25th minute came completely out of nowhere. Havertz got the ball with some fortune in his feet and saw his effort disappear from close range through the legs of Samir Handanovic into the roof of the goal.
The spectacular opening phase seemed complete shortly afterwards when referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande pointed to the spot after hands from Sinkgraven. However, the replay showed that the left back got the ball on his shoulder, so after intervention by the VAR, the arbiter reversed his own decision.
After the break, Leverkusen got the ball more, but the best chances remained for Inter, which failed to close the game via Alexis Sánchez and Lukaku. In the last minute, a penalty from Inter was withdrawn for the second time after intervention by the VAR, but Antonio Conte’s team was also not shaken in the six minutes of injury time.