Half of the Champions League final is set after Inter defeated Milan 1-0 (3-0 on aggregate) at the San Siro. Despite getting Rafael Leao back in the lineup, Milan were helpless during the match as Inter kept their attacks in front of them and were able to score a goal from Lautaro Martinez to put them through. Romelu Lukaku got on the pitch in the 66th minute against a tired Milan side and it would only take him eight minutes to assist Martinez for the opener.
One year removed from winning the Scudetto last season, Milan were one step from making the Champions League final, and after missing out on that could miss out on the Champions League altogether. Meanwhile, this Inter side have now won eight consecutive matches and have now booked their spot in Istanbul.
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While Inter should be lauded for their defensive strength and an impressive game plan that neutralized Theo Hernandez and Leao, questions need to be answered by Milan. Prior to the match, Pioli said, "Nobody thinks Milan can reach the UCL final, but we believe."
Down two goals on aggregate and only taking five shots in a win-or-go-home match, it's hard to actually believe Pioli. Inter are the better team and will be heading to Istanbul but when Milan needed to throw the kitchen sink forward they instead passed around the defense then played the ball hopelessly forward when Leao couldn't work into space.
Looking for your best player is fine most of the time, but when that plan didn't work, Milan didn't have a plan B to fall back on. Things could've changed if Leao's shot in the first half wasn't dragged wide but the team as a whole needed to show more fight during the occasion, especially in a derby match that takes place in the shared San Siro. Falling back this much after winning the Scudetto is a reason why the club will head into a critical summer rebuild while Inter are being rewarded for their good work on the season.
For Inter, Martinez has had issues finishing but when the team needs him most, he is there. His partnership with Lukaku is one that helped win Inter their own Scudetto and it's one that has now helped them to a Champions League final. There, they'll face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in a game where they'll be underdogs but after the comprehensive victories that Inter have reeled off, they can't be counted out.