Despite securing a slender win against Liverpool in the second leg of the fixture, Inter Milan failed to go through with Alexis Sanchez grabbing the marching orders with more than half an hour to go.
The game started on a cagey affair as both the teams played out a scrambling display in the middle and could barely register any shots on target in the first half an hour. By the team Liverpool opened up, Inter Milan had made their intentions clear despite lacking a killer touch in their attacking ascendancy.
The story of the Liverpool versus Inter Milan
The Reds could have easily extended their cushion when Matip’s thumping header from a scouring Alexander-Arnold cross rattled the woodwork in the half-hour mark. Two minutes later, Inter was bailed out by a stretched Skriniar Van Dijk’s looping header that already had Handanovic beaten and clattered onto the Slovakian center-back.
Despite growing in confidence with every passing minute, it took the Nerazzuri a staggering 41 minutes to register their first positive chance of the game as Calhanoglu’s fizzling low effort from a free-kick needed a decent save from Alisson Becker to keep the scores level.
Just before the breather, Alexis Sanchez was unfortunate to catch Thiago with a clumsy challenge that earned him a booking for high boots. Liverpool roared into the dressing room with another sizzling effort as Alexander-Arnold’s curler whizzed past the woodwork by inches.
Inter Milan rode on some terrific luck as Salah became the second man to graze the woodwork as he bundled his essay from a delightful Thiago chip that was relayed onto his path by Jota.
Lautaro Martinez bagged a rare chance in the 60th minute as he dragged his effort wide, insinuating rousing spirits in the Italian camps.
Very much against the turn of the play, Inter Milan bagged the lead as Martinez whipped a top-notch effort that could see Alisson putting in a heroic enterprise to stave it away but could come nowhere near. Martinez’s opening goal allowed the Italian stalwarts to surge back with renewed vim and vigour for a brief couple of minutes until the unfortunate happened.
Within a minute of engineering Inter’s baby steps of a comeback, Alexis Sanchez became a villain as his reckless challenge on Thiago saw the referee pulling out the second yellow card and he was off, leaving a trailing Inter on aggregate fending for themselves.
It seemed that Liverpool took a particular liking for the Inter woodwork than the back of the net as Salah’s close-range effort clattered onto the crossbar, making it the third of the night.
Despite a heroic display against a marauding Liverpool masterminded by Juergen Klopp, there was very little that Inter could do after losing out on Sanchez with more than half-hour to go. Inzaghi’s men tried their best but could hardly produce the much-needed breakthrough.