MILAN – Inter have qualified for the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia for the second year in a row, thanks to their 2-1 quarter-final win over AC Milan. The last time that Inter qualified for two successive Coppa Italia semi-finals dates back to the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons. For AC Milan however, their streak of semi-final appearances has been broken, having been active been active since 2016/17 when they eliminated the Nerazzurri in the quarter-final stage.
THE DIRECT FREE KICK WE WERE WAITING FOR
After Lukaku’s penalty, it was Christian Eriksen’s 97th minute free kick that secured qualification for the Nerazzurri. A perfect right footed shot over the wall, which brings back memories of last free kick scored by the Nerazzurri in a derby, that of Pandev on Dida in 2010 (obviously with some differences: the foot, Eriksen's right versus the Macedonian's left, but also where the ball entered the goal, more central than that of the former attacker).
Eriksen's fifth goal in the Inter shirt (one in the league, two in the Europa League, two in the Italian Cup) is the second of two in the national cup scored via a set piece. Last season the Dane scored directly from a corner kick in the return leg of semi-final against Napoli.
Eriksen has scored 15 goals from a direct free kick with his club teams: the last occasion was in December 2019, for Tottenham against Norwich. He is a specialist: only Messi, Calhanoglu, Pjanic and Ronaldo have scored more direct free kicks than him from 2013/14 to today in all top five European competitions (13 free kick goals for Eriksen in this period).
Inter had been waiting some time for a goal via a direct free kick: the last 55 attempts had failed. Joao Cancelo was the last player to convert one for the Nerazzurri, with his free kick-cross from the left in Inter vs. Cagliari in April 2018.
LUKAKU’S JUDGEMENT IN THE DERBY
A fourth derby for Romelu Lukaku and a fourth goal. The Nerazzurri striker has scored in all four derby matches he has played in, making AC Milan the first team against which the number nine has scored in all of his first four matches.
This was the Belgian’s 18th goal of the season in all competitions: he is one of only seven players in the top five European leagues to reach 18 goals.
Also, penalty kicks: since 2019/20 Lukaku has taken twelve penalties for Inter in all competitions and has scored them all (sending the goalkeeper the wrong way on eleven occasions). Lukaku is one of only three players to have taken at least twelve penalties since 2019 and converted them all, along with Lewandowski and Oyarzabal.