Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi admitted he had only previously dreamt about his team reaching the final four of the UEFA Champions League.
The Nerazzurri were drawn into what was believed to be the ‘group of death’ earlier in the tournament when they were seeded with Bayern Munich and Barcelona, putting them second ahead of the LaLiga giants.
Inter beat Benfica 5-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals on Wednesday after a 3-3 draw at the San Siro, meaning they will face city rivals Milan in the semi-finals for the first time since the 2002-03 season, as well as the first time the two have met five times in one season.
“There’s a lot of luck there,” Inzaghi said after the match. “We played a great game against a tough team.
“We fully deserved this semi-final, which was only a dream before. I am happy for the boys and for our progress. We started with a very difficult group with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. We are working every day to experience these nights.” ”
Their progress to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time since they won the competition in 2009-10 should ease the pressure on Inzaghi, who has been criticized for the team’s league form as they have not won any of their last five games. lost four in Serie A.
“Critics are not the problem,” he insisted. “I know where they come from. Some speak well, some speak badly.”
Federico Dimarco had a productive game for Inter against Benfica, completing six crosses in open play – twice as many as any other player – and bagging assists for Lautaro Martinez and Joaquin Correa after Nicolo Barella had earlier put the hosts in front.
Roger Schmidt’s men equalized with Barella’s goal through Frederik Aursnes before late efforts from Antonio Silva and Petar Musa leveled again.
“We are very happy, it has been many years since Inter reached the semi-finals,” Dimarco told Amazon Prime. “There is one more step left to the end.
“We played well, except for the lack of focus on their goals. Assists? I’ve been working on it all week, the important thing is that the team wins.”
When asked about the prospect of a meeting with Milan, he replied: “Let’s think about the other matches first. I’m calm, we still have a step left to progress.”