MANCHESTER CITY could find a familiar face standing in the way of their Champions League dream.

Two Premier League castaways dominated the Milan derby in this semi-final first-leg as ex-City man Edin Dzeko and former Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan stunned AC Milan and left Inter on the brink of a first final since 2010.

Edin Dzeko hooked a left-footed shot into the back of the net


Edin Dzeko hooked a left-footed shot into the back of the netCredit: Reuters
Henrikh Mkhitaryan made it 2-0 after 11 minutes


Henrikh Mkhitaryan made it 2-0 after 11 minutesCredit: Getty

This famous old stadium was literally shaking with deafening noise from both sides of the Milanese support over an hour before this city’s biggest game in two decades.

Milan’s ultras unveiled a shimmering tifo of Satan and a sign warning: ‘Hell is empty, all the devils are here.’

The devil may have been here but Rafael Leao wasn’t, not in the XI or on the bench. The first of Milan’s many problems.

Milan’s ferocious support had been building up to this since meeting in the city’s Piazza del Duomo yesterday morning, only to have their dreams shattered inside ten minutes by Dzeko.

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With Leao not fit and another Premier League outcast in Romelu Lukaku left on the bench for Inter, these two were spearheaded by European veterans in Dzeko, 37, and 36-year-old Olivier Giroud.

And it was Dzeko using every ounce of his experience to carve a superb opener on eight minutes, drifting towards the back post to meet Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner and hooking his leg around marker Davide Calabria to divert it in.

Giroud barely had a kick, isolated and ineffective up top.

Milan were shocked and the back four were still reeling when 34-year-old Mkhitaryan strolled through and smashed home a second three minutes later as they watched on standing stock still.

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Dzeko celebrates his early opener


Dzeko celebrates his early openerCredit: Getty
Mkhitaryan wheels away after scoring Inter's second


Mkhitaryan wheels away after scoring Inter’s secondCredit: Getty

In a theatre of thunderous support for two teams desperately fearing the horror of losing to one another, this was expected to be a cagey affair.

But Inter are in a fine vein of form, having won five on the bounce and climbed above Milan in Serie A at the weekend, and were having none of it.

Milan were terrified and chaotic, Inter rampant and ruthless.

Across six previous Champions League semi-finals at San Siro, Milan had conceded just one goal. Now they’d shipped two in 11 minutes.

It could have been three five minutes later when Calhanoglu crashed an effort against the inside of the post from 25-yards before Mkhitaryan’s follow-up was stopped by Mike Maignan.

Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjaer were spared more embarrassment when, after Lautaro Martinez wriggled between them and hit the deck, the Spanish referee overturned his decision to award a penalty following a VAR review.

But Milan did not take the chance handed to them, and waves of Inter chances continued largely unchallenged.

Dimarco, Martinez and Denzel Dumfries all had chances to make it three before the break.

Leao, watching from the stands alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, buried his head in his hands.

Ibrahimovic was doing much the same late in the second half.

Substitute Junior Messias sent one shot wide but it was still all blue and black after immediately after the restart.

Milan’s tremendous support refused to give up, filling San Siro with red smoke and letting off two ear-splitting fire-crackers to try and spark their side into life.

It almost worked too, with Sandro Tonali clipping the post with a low shot as they looked more threatening.

If Stefano Pioli’s side had offered half the ferocity of those in the Curva Sud this would have been a very different tie – but their slight second half improvement was never enough.

Having never beaten Milan in a European tie before this, it was Inter’s night and a shot at immortality is theirs to claim in next week’s return leg.

Lautaro Martinez thought he'd won a first-half penalty


Lautaro Martinez thought he’d won a first-half penaltyCredit: Getty
Rafael Leao had to watch on from the stands


Rafael Leao had to watch on from the standsCredit: Getty

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