Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Bad luck and failure by Lukaku finally condemn Inter to a decisive duel

Any team wishes they had a clear chance to score and tie the game late in the Champions League final.

In the 89th minute the ball floated slowly across the Manchester City goal to the head of striker Romelu Lukaku, who was just four meters from the goal line, with the gate open.

His low ball went past goalkeeper Ederson, whose left foot went out to save for City.

Somehow, the 1–0 lead was held and minutes later, the English side became European champions for the first time. They completed an unusual treble with the English Premier League and Cup titles.

“I’m still wondering how it is possible that we didn’t score in the end,” admitted Inter coach Simone Inzaghi. “It’s clear that we deserved more.”

It seemed inevitable that a striker of the caliber of Lukaku, who scored a historic goal for the Belgian team, would find the nets. Around 20,000 Inter supporters, crowding at that end of the stadium, could not believe that he had not succeeded.

It was one of those Inter matches. Nevertheless, a series of circumstances had given the underdog Italian side a good chance of a fourth European title.

City’s best defender, Kyle Walker, did not start the game due to injury. Best midfielder Kevin De Bruyne left the pitch before the end of the first half with a thigh problem.

Star forward Erling Haaland was ruled out for a good portion of the game. Ederson, the goalkeeper, showed unusual skepticism towards him during the first half.

But Inter never came close to scoring before the break.

Then, minutes after going behind with a goal from Spanish midfielder Rodri in the 68th, Inter failed to convert on two consecutive occasions. It was an open header at the mouth of the goal.

First, Federico DiMarco slipped through defenders and extended a slow header over Ederson, who fell backwards as the ball bounced off the crossbar.

The ball returned to where DeMarco was, who dove to send it straight into the goal. Lukaku’s feet were covering the shot.

DeMarco admitted, “We’re really upset, very upset about losing this final.” “We were very disappointed because we drew against City.”

There were other armed attacks by the Nerazzurri, often with Lautaro Martínez as the protagonist. The Argentine shot from almost no angle and Ederson saved when Lukaku was scrambling for a pass.

At least Martinez can smile in retrospect of a footballing year that won him the World Cup title with Argentina in Qatar.

Lukaku, on the other hand, saw how the Champions League bore an eerie resemblance to the World Cup.

In the dying moments of a tense group stage match, with the score tied 0–0 against Croatia, a goal would have put Belgium through to the last 16.

Lukaku, who had recently come on as a substitute due to another injury, had the ball two meters from the goal. But the ball bounced straight off him and was left at the mercy of the Croatian goalkeeper.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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