Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring Inter’s fifth goal – Sportinglife.com
Inter Milan cruised into the Europa League final with a comfortable 5-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Italian giants led by a single goal at the break after Lautaro Martinez had headed them in front but blitzed their opponents with four more goals in the second half.
Danilo D’Ambrosio doubled the lead and Martinez was on target again before Romelu Lukaku’s double saw the former Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea striker extend his run of scoring in his last 10 matches in the competition.
Inter are back in the final of a European competition for the first time since their memorable treble of 2009-10 under Jose Mourinho and Friday’s showpiece against Sevilla will be their 10th European final in their history.
Shakhtar, who were looking to reach their second ever European final, having won the UEFA Cup in 2009, will surely go home disappointed and with regrets after failing to show any urgency on the night.
Martinez headed home Nicolo Barella’s cross after a mistake by goalkeeper Andrei Pyatov in what was the game’s first shot at goal.
Shakhtar enjoyed the majority of possession, especially in the first half, but looked stumped as to how to deal with Antonio Conte’s organised and disciplined Inter defensive unit.
The Ukrainian side finally offered something late in the first half when Marcos Antonio’s long-range effort flew narrowly over the crossbar.
Another mistake early in the second half almost gifted Inter a second goal. Davit Khocholava got himself in a mess on the ball and Martinez fairly barged him aside before spotting Pyatov off his line and going for the chip, but Shakhtar’s veteran goalkeeper leapt high to tip the ball away.
Shakhtar had a golden opportunity to equalise just after the hour mark. It looked a carbon copy of the goal which Inter had scored in the first half.
Mykola Matviyenko swung in a cross and Junior Moraes met it with a header but his effort was straight at Samir Handanovic. Either side of the goalkeeper and it would have been a goal.
It proved pivotal as Inter went straight down the opposite end and and extended their lead as D’Ambrosio headed home from a Marcelo Brozovic corner.
Martinez fired in his second goal of the game after 74 minutes with a low shot from 20 yards before Lukaku got on the score sheet four minutes later, calmly beating Pyatov when put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
The Belgian scored again seven minutes from time, showing a good turn of foot to race past his marker before firing past Pyatov once more.
- Inter Milan’s 5-0 win was the biggest margin of victory ever in a single UEFA Cup/ Europa League semi-final game.
- This was Shakhtar Donetsk’s biggest defeat in Europe since a 0-6 defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League in November 2018.
- Inter Milan have won five consecutive matches in major European competition (excluding qualifiers) for the first time since April 2010 (a run of six starting in December 2009 on their way to the UEFA Champions League final).
- Lautaro Martínez and Romelu Lukaku are the first duo to score 20+ goals each in a single season for Inter Milan since Adriano and Obafemi Martins in the 2004-05 campaign.
- Danilo D’Ambrosio has scored three goals in his last five games for Inter Milan in all competitions, as many as he had netted in his previous 58 appearances.
- Inter striker Romelu Lukaku is the first player in UEFA Cup/Europa League history to score in 10 consecutive matches via a run stretching back to November 2014 with Everton.
- Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 10 appearances in the Europa League (14 goals, 4 assists).
- Romelu Lukaku became the first Serie A player this season to hit 50 appearances in all competitions while the Belgian is also the first Inter player to reach the milestone in a single campaign since Samuel Eto’o (53) and Javier Zanetti (52) in 2010-11.