Romelu Lukaku had the last laugh after a heated exchange with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Tuesday’s Milan derby, as his Inter came from behind to knock AC Milan out of the Coppa Italia at the quarter-final stage.
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the first half with a nicely taken goal, but both he and Lukaku were cautioned when tempers flared late in the opening 45 minutes, before Lukaku levelled and a stoppage time Christian Eriksen freekick booked Inter’s place in the final four.
The 39-year-old got things up and running with half an hour on the clock. A moved looked to have broken down as it was cleared from the area, but Soualiho Meite headed back to Ibrahimovic on the edge of the area, from where he shifted onto his right foot to make enough space to pick out the bottom corner via the post.
As half time approached, the two giant forwards butted heads. Ibrahimovic, in typical fashion, provoked his former Manchester United teammate with some taunting words. Lukaku lost his cool and returned some strong words, but even after both players were cautioned, the spat continued and even after the half time whistle had been blown.
Ibrahimovic received a second yellow card before the hour mark, leaving Milan down to 10 men, and the Nerazzurri took advantage.
Within 10 minutes they had won a penalty through Nicolo Barella, and Lukaku stepped up to convert off the underside of the crossbar.
Ciprian Tataruanu then did his utmost to keep the Rossoneri in the tie, but Eriksen dispatched a trademark freekick in stoppage time to seal the win for Antonio Conte’s side.
Inter will now meet either Juventus or Serie B side SPAL in the semi-finals.