FAMILIAR foes could await Manchester City and Pep Guardiola in the Champions League final.

Ex-City man Edin Dzeko and his Inter Milan team-mates are on their way to Istanbul after overcoming their fierce city rivals in the biggest tie Milan has seen for 20 years.

Lautaro Martinez celebrates his winner on the night


Lautaro Martinez celebrates his winner on the nightCredit: Alamy
Martinez, 25, fired Inter into the Champions League final


Martinez, 25, fired Inter into the Champions League finalCredit: Reuters
Martinez was the key man for Inter


Martinez was the key man for InterCredit: Getty
Martinez celebrates his goal with the fans


Martinez celebrates his goal with the fansCredit: AP

Neither Carlo Ancelotti, a former Milan manager, or Guardiola, whose Barcelona side lost to Inter in the 2010 semi-final when the Serie A side went on to win the trophy for a third time, will underestimate them.

Across these two legs Inter showed that they can be just as disruptive as they are dangerous.

A true threat when they look to play direct attacking football, but not afraid to drag their opponents into a fight just in case they were thinking of playing any nice football.

Simone Inzaghi’s side preciously guarded the advantage they had snatched here last week, before, with 15 minutes to go, Lautaro Martinez sealed their return to club football’s greatest stage.

Milan’s route to Istanbul was always going to be more difficult given their torrid start to the first leg, when Edin Dzeko and Henrik Mkhitaryan had them on the deck after scoring inside 11 minutes.

Stefano Pioli, the Milan manager, conceded that his side needed a miracle.

Already in a horrible position, they were now facing the ‘away’ leg of this tie, with Inter fans dominating San Siro.

A huge banner of a triumphant knight boasting the victims of this Champions League campaign (Barcelona and Bayern Munich among them) was unfurled to inspire Inter alongside the rallying cry: ‘Victory for us is life.’


Milan’s sliver of fans in the Curva Sud responded with: ‘To the assault’, but it never truly came.

Hope that a miracle was possible arrived in the form of Rafael Leao’s name appearing on the teamsheet having missed the first leg with a thigh issue – though he was far from fit.

But it always felt like this was one step too far for Milan, with or without Leao.

If Milan were to have any hope, they needed a spectacular start.

Theo Hernandez looked to provide that, flashing an effort narrowly over the bar from 40-yards out.

Matteo Darmian was forced to head over his own bar before Brahim Diaz fluffed a low effort at Andre Onana – a waste of a chance which could have heaped all the pressure on Inter.

Inter looked to get hold of things after a rough start, though Leao made that far more difficult than last week.

The winger flashed through the Inter defence, only to see his shot roll agonisingly wide of the far post. Close, but another let off.

For a clash between the two titans of the most fashionable city on Earth, this descended into one hell of a scrap.

Those in red and black were running forward and hoping to force something – and it was not working, resulting in just one shot on target across 90 minutes.

Inter were happy to hack away at any momentum their rivals could manage.

Milan’s hope was fading as Inter’s confidence rose, before their elation erupted.

Martinez had been kicked and barged throughout but this time found space through a scrappy one-two with Romelu Lukaku.

The World Cup winner collected and fired a low effort in at the near post, sparking blue and black bedlam.

It would be foolish to rule out a similar sight in Istanbul.

Inter Milan celebrate with their supporters


Inter Milan celebrate with their supportersCredit: AFP
AC Milan were well beaten by their fierce rivals


AC Milan were well beaten by their fierce rivalsCredit: Getty

You can follow how the action unfolded in our live below…

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