Two goals in eight first-half minutes by in-form forward Lautaro Martinez saw Inter recover from an early setback to topple Fiorentina in yesterday’s Coppa Italia Final. Naturally, their chairman Steven Zhang has publicly praised their growing big-game mentality though head coach Simone Inzaghi stressed a desire for his side to maintain this red-hot form before Istanbul on June 10.
Lautaro’s landmark brace propels Inter again
- Zhang proud after witnessing turnaround win, saying: “Everyone now has a winning mentality, that is why we are able to play in so many Finals and win so many cups – confirms our efforts have been rewarded by everyone.”
- Simone Inzaghi though, not complacent after his seventh consecutive Final win: “I am happy, we won a cup that we wanted to confirm what we did last season – Fiorentina are a quality team, caused us a lot of problems.”
- World Cup winner Martinez has scored 27 goals and created 10 assists in 54 appearances across all competitions for Inter this term, now eclipsing 2021-22 as the 25-year-old striker’s most prolific campaign of his career
- For all the talk about Manchester City’s potential treble-winning season as far as silverware, Inter can secure their own next month after domestic title wins – Italian Super Cup and now retaining the Coppa Italia trophy
Lautaro Martinez scored his 100th and 101st goals for Inter on appearance no. 235, as the Argentine showed razor-sharp touch in the area to down Fiorentina last night.
Edin Dzeko wasted his one big chance before being hooked on 58 minutes, while Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku brought purpose and energy from the bench. The pair previously worked well as a deadly duo, but Lautaro’s coming into his own.
His first finish was all about the initial movement: staying patient on the edge of the box before leaving Lucas Martinez Quarta scampering to try and recover, latching onto Marcelo Brozovic’s incisive pass, firing low and across goal into the far corner.
The second was even better given the tight space he was afforded: a first-time volley from Nicolo Barella’s deftly-placed cross, despite Nikola Milenkovic standing alongside him. It amplified how he’s riding high with plenty of confidence recently.
Yet, Inzaghi was right about their bad start in his post-match assessment during an interview with Mediaset. Jonathan Ikone’s pass cut their backline open after two minutes, allowing Nicolas Gonzalez a free shot on goal at the far post.
Samir Handanovic made five saves, the most he’s had in a match since their 1-0 win over Torino in mid-September (eight appearances), and former Real striker Luka Jovic missed two promising opportunities off the bench in the final 20 minutes.
“We started badly and had the wrong approach – rare for us – but the lads did well to stay in the game anyway and then turn it around. We have the final two Serie A games, then Istanbul and a great season we want to keep going.”
- Inzaghi is refusing to rest on his laurels, and rightly so
Fiorentina had more possession (52%), almost double the amount of shots (19-11), corners, three big chances, more passes and still ended up empty-handed.
Manchester City boast creative depth with far more deadly players than Jovic and even in a one-off game, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be that wasteful given what’s at stake and the painful defeats of old serving as a burning source of motivation too.
“As with all our Italian cultural way, we don’t talk about it. But to be honest, for seven years our players and club never even aimed for the Champions League.
Now we have played so many Finals, won so many cups. I think in these kinds of games, our hearts and minds matter.”
- Zhang on how much he believes they can beat City on June 10
Picture source: Getty Images, quotes via football-italia.net as hyperlinked