Inter Milan - Benfica summary: score, goals, highlights | Champions League quarter-final 22/23
Inter vs Benfica: as it happened
That's all, folks!
Thanks for tuning into the live coverage of the San Siro thriller that has bestowed upon us one of the most exciting semi-final matchups in a long while!
Remember that we've got oodles of sport news from across the world on en.as.com. And as you well know, we have all the football, all the time. It never stops. There is always football.
The party will last all night in Milan
I don't know about you, but I'm already daydreaming about the Milan Derby semi-final that we've got so soon!
As for the other game, Manchester City drew 1-1 with Bayern in Germany meaning that it will be Pep vs Carlo in the other semi-final of the Champions League!
Forget Eagles, Benfica huffed and puffed like the Big Bad Wolf but it was not enough to get past the heavy lead that Inter Milan had built up in the first leg.
A six-goal thriller was served to us at San Siro yet even despite the constant pressure to build up directly and play through the lines from Roger Schmidt's side, Inter never looked rattled, just a little sleepy at times.
That certainly won't happen in the next round, where they will face their biggest rivals, AC Milan, in the Champions League semi-finals!
It was a great game at San Siro
Inter's first leg advantage carried them through in the end of a bit of a thriller on the night.
Inter Milan make it to the Champions League semi-final!
And that's the end of the game!
We're into the last minute now, and Benfica are not moving any closer to goal. They continue to tap around the edge of Inter's area.
Benfica, to their credit, continue to push for goals; the tie may be almost over as a contest, but we've seen stranger things happen that a late flurry to draw level.
4 added minutes.
And we're into the final minute of the tie.
Benfica need three goals just to draw level. They have, erm, three minutes.
António Silva's header looped over Onana after a delightful cross from Grimaldo made it easy for him.
Unfortunately, it appears to be too little too late.
Onana is down after the ball smacked off the post and into his face...
Inter's fans had just began to olé the passes of their team before a slip of the boot saw the ball fall to Neres, who whacked a shot off the post from inside the box with his first touch.
NERES OFF THE POST
Chiquinho and R. Silva OFF
Musa and Neves ON
It looks messy now for Benfica, who can't get a foot on the ball as everyone in a blue and black shirt wants to get in on the action.
What an impact!
Correa gets the ball on the left of the box, spins on his heels, zips past Otamendi, and unleashes a wonderful whip into the far corner of the goal.
Lukaku, Çalhanoglu and Correa ON
Lautaro, Dzeko, Barella OFF
Lukaku, Çalhanoğlu and Correa ON
Lautaro, Dzeko, Mkhitaryan OFF
Both the stadium and the home side want more: Bastoni is the next player to come close after hitting a laser-guided cross across the face of goal that no Inter player manages to stick their leg out for what would have been a certain goal.
Silva heads away Dimarco's shot with his right foot after he attacked a low cross from the wrong angle.
Inter attack with Dzeko and Lautaro, but Chiquinho cuts out the pass towards the Bosnian at the last second; the home fans were certain that was another goal on the tally.
Forgetting the result, just for a second, Benfica's passing in tight spaces has, at times, been truly excellent.
Lautaro's strike has calmed things down immeasurably for Inter's fans, who are back in spinning, dancing, party mode.
The Benfica fans look glum; it could be a long 20+ minutes to go.
Mkhitaryan links up well with Dimarco who he finds inside the box on the left. The wing-back spies Lautaro in the box and his low ball is perfectly placed for the Argentinian to strike the ball past Odysseas from close range.
Is that game over?
INTER GO 4-1 UP IN SAN SIRO AND MOVE ONE STEP CLOSER TO THE SEMI-FINAL
The ball falls to Gonçalo Ramos on the edge of the box where he pokes a foot as it bounces temptingly in front of him, but his shot flies through the mass of defenders and misplaced attackers before rolling well wide of Onana's goal.
Dzeko finds the ball in space as Inter attack; he slips past one challenge and, in hindsight, chooses the selfish option and shoots from distance, despite having Lautaro all alone on his left. Benfica survive.
Around half an hour to go...
Bastoni played a great cross from an inside-left position towards Dzeko, whose header whizzed wide of goal.
CHANCE FOR INTER!
Benfica are being very insistent on scoring, the rascals, but Inter's defensive concentration is yet to lapse for a single second in this half.
Romelu Lukaku is receiving instructions on the sideline - will we see the Belgian later on?
The away team are currently on 58%possession, which shows the dominance on the ball that they are having, especially in what we have seen of the second half.
Inter are not having a nice time at the moment, with The Eagles taking advantage of spaces all over the pitch. João Mário is playing as though he's looking for a move to a mid-table Premier League side.
Aursnes goes down in the box after a challenge from Lautaro, who does not get the ball. Both the referee and the VAR say no, gracias.
Another attack for Benfica!
Grimaldo slips a pass through the lines to João Mário, who gets into the box and works his way to the byline before the ball is cleared out of play.
Neres has started very brightly; this time he plays a lovely ball into the box from an advanced position on the right after skipping past Dimarco. Inter clear.
Dzeko is literally hiding behind Dumfries, crouched down at the corner, as though nobody can see him. We see you, Edin, you're 2 metres tall.
Rafa Silva goes into the book after making a foul which stops Mkhitaryan from breaking away on the counter-attack. Needs must, eh.
Lautaro hits a speculative shot from distance that flies past Odysseas' far post. Both teams have started with the intensity we saw in the opening minutes of the first period.
Neres makes his first impact when he breaks down the left and plays a cross towards Rafa Silva, which goes out for a corner.
Benfica make a change:
45 minutes to go!
And we're off!
The players are ready to go for the second half...
Aursnes takes advantage of Haaland's missed penalty
He becomes the first Norwegian, not called Erling Haaland, to score in the Champions League knockout rounds since 2018.
And what a goal it was!
Barella has been the heartbeat of every Inter attack in this game, but there's nothing new there...
What a fantastically entertaining half of football.
Inter have the advantage on the scoreboard but Benfica are showing them that the tie still has 25% to go. Aursnes' thumping header drew The Eagles level just before half-time after Nico Barella's delightful strike put Inter 3-0 up.
The plan from the home side has been to lay off Benfica before finding Dzeko and striking with direct runs from Lautaro, Mkhitaryan and Barella, which has worked to an extent, but the goal will just remind the team and the fans that nobody can afford to switch off until the final whistle.
Benfica will know that they will create chances if they can play in the same way, and they will hope for more Inter sleepiness if they are to make them really shake in their boots about making it to the semi-final that awaits one of the two teams.
And that's all for this half!
It has absolutely flown by!
1 minute added.
We're seeing some seriously nice passing moves from Benfica here, who appear unfazed by the fact that they still need 2 goals if they want to draw level with Inter on aggregate.
The last 5 minutes have been all for the Portuguese side.
Grimaldo and Gilberto are being afforded time and space to advance both inside and outside, and are linking up well with João Mário and Rafa Silva.
Benfica, as you might expect, have woken up and are forcing Inter back into their own half as they switch the ball from left to right and back again.
Five to go until half-time, and Inter will want that clock. to tick a little faster than it is right now.
Inter fell asleep there, and Rafa Silva was allowed to advance down the right. He hit a lovely cross into the box where Aursnes was waiting; the winger jumped higher than his marker to fire a powerful header past Onana.
BENFICA PULL ONE BACK
AURSNES FIRES A HEADER INTO THE NET
We've had a lot of small fouls and loose balls over the past few minutes, which have really broken the game up.
They are in part due to Benfica's rush to get things going and Inter's plan of doing exactly the opposite.
Grimaldo's corner lands on Gilberto's head, which he directs into the grateful grasp of Onana.
Lautaro has the ball in the net... but the referee calls for a foul.
Gilberto was pushed by Lautaro as the ball landed on the World Cup winner's head. There was slight confusion as the referee appeared to be pointing to the centre spot, but was in fact signalling for an infraction by the striker.
Grimaldo whipped the ball over the wall. It dipped ferociously at the near post, but the goalkeeper got down to save the effort.
WHAT A SAVE FROM ONANA!
The ball is being carefully placed by Grimaldo, around 30 yards out and in a central area.
A free-kick is given in a dangerous area for the Portuguese club after Onana was forced to give the ball away due to the Benfica high press.
The defensive shape that the home side are using is forcing Benfica out wide, where Rafa Silva, João Mário and co. are having a tough time of seriously influencing the play.
Bastoni has his head in his hands after his header (say that three times quickly) is deflected away by Gonçalo Ramos.
Inter counter down the left with Dimarco and win a corner, pinning the away side back and undoing all their good work.
Benfica, despite the result, are still popping the ball about beautifully at times, and have showed their class with some lovely link-up play.
Dimarco gets across goal to make a perfectly timed interception as Benfica pass their way into the box. A lovely defensive effort.
Inter are spring-loaded for a counter-attacking approach as Benfica are trying to pass them to death. Every tackle from the home side is greeted with a roar from the crowd, who are dancing and singing and spinning around in joy.
I don't normally approve of the phrase 'top bins', but I'll allow it for that goal.
The party has started in the stands at San Siro... they think they're through.
Dimarco plays a ferocious early cross that's cleared by Silva; the crowd gasp as Dzeko was lurking behind him like a Great White Shark hunts an unaware seal baby. Danger averted once again.
Despite the early setback, Benfica seem to be sticking to their possession plan which is giving Inter huge opportunities to be spurred on by the crowd and chase every singly pass they smell.
Back underway and the heebie-jeebies have gotten to Benfica, who almost allow Dzeko in to score instantly after kick-off. Grimaldo scoops the ball away at the last second.
What an amazing goal. Nico Barella takes the ball on the right side of the box with Lautaro, Mkhitaryan and Dzeko alongside, as well as numerous Benfica defenders also surrounding him.
He runs right before flicking the ball back onto his left foot and curls a wonderful, spinning shot into the top-left corner from the edge of the box, giving Odysseas no chance of saving the ball.
BARELLA PUTS INTER 3-0 UP ON AGGREGATE
The game has started with a high level of intensity from both sides; there is no hint from Inter that they are content to sit on their haunches and wait for the clock to tick down (which is good for us).
Mário plays a cross-field ball to Grimaldo but the left-back's cross is cleared and Inter avoid the danger. Gonçalo Ramos was sniffing around inside the box.
Benfica clear Inter's cross from the right as the home side appear to find their feet in the game...
Chance for Inter!
Lautaro skips past Florentino's challenge and breaks away 3vs2 against Benfica's defence. He tries to slip in Barella down the left but Chiquinho gets a touch and the ball slides agonisingly past the Italian midfielder inside the box.
The clash of styles in the first five minutes is very intriguing: Inter are looking for Dzeko with mid/long passes while Benfica are attacking with the ball on the floor, trying to find triangles and overloads.
Benfica are playing very direct football in the opening minutes but with short, sharp passes.
Inter win a throw and Dumfries launches the ball to Barella in the box, whose header is collected by Odysseas.
Benfica get into the Inter box after a nice transition from João Mário and the away side win the first corner of the game.
Mkhitaryan and Barella are pressing right up behind Dzeko and Martínez as Benfica start the game with a calm sense of control on the ball.
Off we go!
We're underway at San Siro!
Benfica kick us off from right to left.
Time for the Chaaaaampiooooons League anthem.
Barella nods his head and looks towards the crowd in approval of their noise so far.
The fans are putting on a show...
FIGHT FOR US reads the huge mosaic from the Inter fans as they scream out the starting XI. There is a huge noise from the fans tonight. It's shaping up to be a sensational Champions League night.
Here come the players!
A reminder of the starting XIs:
Acerbi - Bastoni - Darmian
Dumfries - Brozovic - Barella - Mkhitaryan - Dimarco
Dzeko - Lautaro
Gilberto - Silva - Otamendi - Grimaldo
Florentino - Chiquinho
Mário - Rafa - Aursnes
Ten minutes to go!
The players have finished their warmups and are headed down the tunnel for the final team talks before the whistle!
Remember that on the other side of the quarter-final bracket we've got Manchester City who take on Bayern Munich in Germany.
The away team go into the game with a humungous 0-3 advantage after storming to victory in the first leg.
Bayern have had their own problems with Sané and Mané making the headlines after throwing slaps and punches at each other, but they will have to set their differences aside if they want to stop the Yokshire-born goal machine from scoring.
Yes, John Stones is in fine form in front of goal!
The Benfica changing room is ready to go!
Both sets of players are out on the pitch and are warming up as the final touches to the dressing room take place.
Given the huge fan presence in Milan tonight, they certainly believe that their team can perform and beat the odds to make it to the semi-final. Surely taking away a potential derby from Inter is an added incentive for the Portuguese side tonight.
As the fans make their way into the stadium, the atmosphere inside the ground is hotting up and the pressure is growing as the clock ticks down!
Here's the Inter-Benfica head to head record
Benfica have the upper hand in terms of goals scored but Inter are ahead when it comes to keeping the ball out of the net, which is all they need to do tonight.
More quick-fire stats:
- The last time Inter made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League, 2009-10, they went on to win the competition.
- If Benfica make it through, they would join Porto as the only other Portuguese club to make it to the final four of the UCL.
- Both teams played each other in the 1965 European Cup final, at San Siro, where Inter won 1-0.
Is there a semi-final draw? Are Inter definitely playing against AC Milan?
Got any other burning questions about the next round? Well, all the answers are here:
Inter starting XI:
Acerbi - Bastoni - Darmian
Dumfries - Brozovic - Barella - Mkhitaryan - Dimarco
Dzeko - Lautaro
Benfica starting XI:
Gilberto - Silva - Otamendi - Grimaldo
Florentino - Chiquinho
Mário - Rafa - Aursnes
Speaking of naughty boys, who is the whistler in charge of keeping things at bay inside San Siro?
It's Señor Carlos del Cerro Grande.
His assistants will be Diego Barbero and Guadalupe Porras Ayuso; the Fourth Official will be Cesar Soto Grado.
The lucky human in charge VAR is Juan Martínez Munuera, and his Assistant VAR Alejandro Hernández.
Who's at risk of suspension?
If these players get a yellow tonight and make it through to the semi-final, they would miss the first leg of the tiedue to an accumulation of yellow cards:
Inter: Bastoni, Dimarco, Dzeko, Lautaro Martínez.
Benfica: Gonçalo Ramos, Florentino Luís, João Mário.
Bad form for Benfica!
The Eagles have lost three competitive games in a row for the first time in four and a half years...
The stadium is set...
History on the side of the home team as Inter have never been eliminated after going into a second leg tie in the Champions League with a two-goal advantage.
Simone Inzaghi's side have goals from Barella and Lukaku to rest on which have given them a much-appreciated cushion for today's game.
More quick-fire stats:
Is winning overrated?
Inter are winless in 5 Serie A games and have only won 1 of their last 8 in all competitions: against Benfica, who have lost their last 3 consecutive games.
Benfica pre-game press conference
We need a top display. We missed a great opportunity to achieve a better result at our stadium. We have to accept the result from the first leg, and now playing with that disadvantage at the home of an experienced and quality opponent makes everything more difficult for us. But in football everything is possible.
We have already shown this season that we can play well in all competitions. We showed a lot of confidence and played an attacking game without opening spaces in the defence. That's the most important thing.
A goal can change a lot of things. That's why it was a shame we missed a great opportunity at the last second, at Estádio da Luz.
With that goal the situation would be easier, but now we have to score. It would be good to score an early goal but, if it comes late, we won't give up looking for the second. However, of course, it would help a lot if we scored early.
As well as following along with this insightful yet entertaining analysis, you can also watch the actual football. Here's how.
The Benfica fans are in full force in Milan
Will their team be able to beat the odds and reach the semi-final against AC Milan?
Benfica have not beaten Inter in any of their four official meetings (1D 3L).
Who to watch: João Mário
The Benfica star played for three years at Inter and as such, as Frank Lampard might suggest, he knows the club.
The midfielder is one of Benfica’s most productive players, having scored 23 goals in all competitions with 6 of them coming in this season’s Champions League: only Gonçalo Ramos has more for The Eagles this season.
Mário has got 4 assists and has created 48 chances for his side over the 22/23 campaign so far, so a lot of today’s hopes will be pinned on the ex-West Ham man.
Alexander Bah is not fit to play as he has a kneeinjury and will sit it out alongside Julian Draxler (remember him?) who has a muscle problem.
Team news: Inter
Skriniar is out for the home team as he is suffering from a back injury, while de Vrij is partnering his fellow centre-back in the injury room with an ankle issue, although he may be fit to feature.
How the first leg went:
Benfica had their chances at the Estádio da Luz but failed to take them as goals from Barella and a spot-kick from Lukaku have given Roger Schmidt’s side a massive uphill battle tonight at San Siro.
The Portuguese side did manage to cause Inter some problems due to the array of attacking talent at their disposal but overturning a two-goal deficit is a tricky task for them.
Inter fans will be hoping to channel a bit of control and serenity, and even another goal would be nice, just to take off the edge.
The footballs keep rolling and we keep watching.
Tonight we’ve got even more juicy action in Europe’s top competition, and the good news is you’ve chosen correctly, reader. Welcome to the live coverage from AS USA of Inter vs Benfica in the Champions League quarter-final!
It’s Joe here to talk to you every single minute as of right now until very late in the night, providing you with non-stop, searing match analysis.
Can Benfica overturn a two-goal deficit or will we have a Milan derby in the semi-finals of the Champions League?