Romelu Lukaku scored on his Inter Milan return on Wednesday in a 4-0 thumping of Viktoria Plzen to assist his aspect make the Champions League final 16 and knock Barcelona out of the competitors.
Belgium striker Lukaku netted Inter’s fourth with three minutes remaining and solely 4 after changing Lautaro Martinez, after Henrikh Mkhitaryan and an Edin Dzeko brace had already successfully ensured his group of at the very least second place in Group C.
Inter’s thumping win at a packed San Siro, Lukaku’s first look in two months following a thigh harm, has relegated Barca to the Europa League forward of their match with Bayern Munich afterward Wednesday.
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Simone Inzaghi’s aspect are six factors forward of Barca and can’t be overtaken by the Catalans due to their higher head-to-head file even when they beat group leaders Bayern.
“He’s come again with a loopy need,” stated Inzaghi of Lukaku.
“Tonight we knew we might make a dream come true if we have a look at draw for the group. I’m comfortable for the group, the membership and the followers as a result of having the San Siro that full so early is one thing particular.”
Barca’s destiny had already been virtually sealed a fortnight in the past when Inter drew an exhilarating encounter on the Camp Nou 3-3, after a single-goal victory for Inter the earlier week.
Xavi Hernandez’s Barca had been favourites to undergo with Bayern when the group stage draw was made, however they’ve gained simply one in every of their 4 fixtures and picked up solely 4 factors.
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Being knocked out so early is a humiliation for Barca after a lavish summer season spending spree and can be an additional pressure on their troubled accounts.
Barca had been 1.3 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in debt earlier than president Joan Laporta and the board pulled their notorious “palancas”, or monetary leverage.
In the meantime Inter’s qualification for the knockout phases of Europe’s prime membership competitors continues a drastic upsurge in type for a group which regarded deep in disaster firstly of the month.
– Inter cruise by –
5 wins from their final six matches in all competitions have made Inter one in every of a probable three Italian groups in November’s draw for the following spherical and have followers hoping of one other Serie A title problem.
Inter went for it straight from kick-off and they need to have opened the scoring within the twenty fifth minute when Jindrich Stanek made a sensible double save.
First, Federico Dimarco shot straight on the Plzen goalkeeper when he might have rolled in Denzel Dumfries for a easy tap-in, and seconds later Stanek denied Mkhitaryan close-range header.
Nevertheless Mkhitaryan wouldn’t be denied and 10 minutes later set Inter on their approach, heading in Alessandro Bastoni’s deep cross fully unmarked whereas Dzeko occupied the Plzen defenders.
And Dzeko gave the hosts a commanding lead three minutes earlier than the break, readily available to faucet residence a easy end after Dimarco brilliantly introduced down Nicolo Barella’s arrowed crossfield cross and rolled a cross throughout the objective from which the Bosnian couldn’t miss.
Inter weren’t content material to sit down on their lead and after Lautaro Martinez’s low end was saved out by the busy Stanek, Dzeko made fully certain of qualification within the 66th minute by rolling in his sixth of the season.
That left time for the return of fan favorite Lukaku, and the cheers for his comeback had barely died down when he raised the roof with a deft close to publish end following an trade of passes with Joaquin Correa which capped an ideal night.
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