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Romelu Lukaku sends Inter into Coppa Italia last eight

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The Times Of India
14th January, 2021 09:43 IST

Inter Milan needed an extra-time winner from substitute Romelu Lukaku to beat Fiorentina 2-1 in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday and book a meeting with rivals AC Milan in the quarter-finals.


Later on Wednesday, a much-changed Juventus made hard work of beating Genoa 3-2 in their last-16 match, needing an extra-time winner from 21-year-old debutant Hamza Rafia to see them through, while Napoli edged a thriller 3-2 against Empoli.

Alexis Sanchez was in the thick of the action for Inter in the first half, hitting the post from close range, before he was later fouled in the penalty area, with Arturo Vidal stepping up to give the visitors the lead with a 40th-minute spot kick.

Inter, who also fielded the little used Christian Eriksen, were furious when the referee awarded another penalty moments later at the other end, with Milan Skriniar appearing to win the ball, but the decision was overturned after VAR intervened.

Lautaro Martinez then had a glorious chance to put Inter two goals in front and his miss proved costly as Christian Kouame thundered home a 57th-minute equaliser for Fiorentina.

Sanchez was guilty of another glaring miss as Inter failed to find a winner in normal time but Lukaku headed home in the 119th minute to send them through to face Milan, who beat Torino on penalties in their last-16 clash on Tuesday.

Serie A champions Juventus made 10 changes from the team that beat Sassuolo at the weekend, but they had no trouble racing into a two-goal lead in Turin against a much-changed Genoa.

Young Swedish forward Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring after two minutes before then setting up the returning Alvaro Morata to make it 2-0 in the 23rd minute.

However, seemingly in cruise control, Juve took their foot off the gas, with Lennart Czyborra getting Genoa deservedly back in the contest before halftime.

Filippo Melegoni then completed the turnaround in the 74th minute with a fine finish, and Juve, who had to introduce Cristiano Ronaldo, could not find a winner as the match went to extra time.

It was left to substitute Rafia to bundle home his first Juventus goal, on his debut, to settle the contest in the 104th minute, booking a quarter-final clash with the winner of the match between Sassuolo and Spal on Thursday.

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