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Euro showdown with Milan ‘the derby’, says Inter’s Inzaghi

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi. Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP

Simone Inzaghi said Tuesday that Inter’s Champions League semi-final with rivals Milan is more than just another local derby.

The Milan giants, who between them have been crowned European champions ten times, face off on Wednesday in the biggest match between the two sides in nearly two decades, and Inter coach Inzaghi is well aware of its importance.

It will be the first time the Serie A pair have played each other in Europe’s top club competition after 2005’s so-called “derby of shame”, a quarter-final won by Milan whose second leg was abandoned after livid Inter fans launched a barrage of flares onto the San Siro pitch with their team way behind in the tie.

“It’s not a derby, it’s the derby,” Inzaghi told reporters.

“We know what it means for us, the club, our fans and myself. But I’m feeling calm because I’ve seen that the boys are very concentrated.

“Over the last 20 months we’ve played seven derbies… we’ve won and we’ve lost.

“Every match is its own story, there will be times when we will be more offensive and times when we will more defensive. Just as we did in the last 16 and quarters we will have to play all together and make sacrifices.”

Hot streak

Inter come into the match on a run of five straight wins and with a previously misfiring attack suddenly banging in the goals.

Inzaghi’s side have scored fourteen goals in that run, ten of which have been netted by the forwards, with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez both in a hot streak.

“We had a period in which the attackers weren’t having a great time but now thankfully they have started scoring again and that’s what we want,” said Inzaghi.

“I’m not worried now just as I wasn’t worried before. The problem for me is when attackers don’t have opportunities, but our forwards always had chances to score.” 

Italy defender Federico Dimarco was still a child and a San Siro regular in 2005 and is keen to get stuck into a tie which could be revenge for one of the most painful derby defeats for his boyhood club.

“Thinking that 20 years ago I was watching the match and now I’m playing in it is an incredible feeling,” said Dimarco.

“We know the importance of match and of the derby, we’ll give it a good go.”

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