Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored two goals in three minutes, giving Inter a solid lead, and the visitors could have added more, dominating the first half.
We had an outstanding first half, the score was less than it should have been with what we created, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said. The guys did a great job in such an emotional match.
We have to keep it up. We know we are just one step away from the dream we believed in from August until today.
The second match is on Tuesday, and it will surely be another special European night at the San Siro. The winner will face either Real Madrid or Manchester City, who drew 1-1 in the first match.
I know my team, I know my players, I know we can do better. I know Inter are a very strong team, but we are no worse. said Milan coach Stefano Pioli. It will be a tough night mentally for both teams, the last chance to get to the final.
We have a chance to put them in a difficult position, score goals, try to get things back on track… We have to give everything we have – talent and heart – to turn things around, which has become difficult but not impossible.
Milan was missing key striker Rafael Lean, who has not yet fully recovered from a thigh injury suffered over the weekend.
There was a tense atmosphere at the San Siro in what Italy dubbed the Euroderby semifinal.
Twenty years ago, the two clubs met in the last fourth round of the Champions League – Milan won on the road and beat Juventus in the final, winning the sixth of seven titles.
Several members of those 2003 teams were in the stands, as well as tennis great Novak Djokovic, who is a fan of Milan.
The match was expected to be cautious and tense, but Inter got off to a great start, taking the lead in the eighth minute. Hakan Calhanoglu delivered a corner from the left flank and Dzeko got past Davide Calabria and into the top right corner.
And just three minutes later, Inter doubled their lead. Federico Dimarco’s low pass was competently left by Lautaro Martinez for Mkhitaryan, who flicked it over Mike Mignan.
Milan have conceded only one goal in their last six Champions League games.
Incredibly, five minutes later, Inter nearly scored a third goal, but a long-rangeCalhanoglu’s shot landed in the right corner.
The Milan players were stunned, but eventually managed to pull themselves together and at the half-hour mark struck the first shot on goal, but Calabria hit the side netting.
Seconds later, Inter was awarded a penalty for a Simon Kier foul on Martinez, but the referee reversed his decision after watching the incident on the field monitor.
After the break, Milan added to the momentum and near the end of the game were overwhelmed by their fans in a sea of red and black.
Brahim Diaz shot from the left flank, but moments later Inter were almost offside. No one closed down Alessandro Bastoni and he threw the ball to Dzeko, but Maignan managed to parry the shot with his foot.
In the 63rd minute, the Rossoneri should have scored, but Sandro Tonali’s shot hit the base of the left post.
In the previous round, Inter beat Benfica 2-0 in Portugal and then drew 3-3 at the San Siro.
Obviously this is a derby, so it’s even more emotional, Inzaghi said. The guys know that we have to do the same thing we did against Benfica: not to think about managing the match, but to play our game, with the quality we showed on the pitch.