Inter Milan defended the Coppa Italia title on Wednesday night, pulling off a 2-1 comeback victory over Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico.
Although newly-crowned Serie A champions Napoli knocked the Nerazzurri down from a stellar eight-game winning streak last weekend with a 3-1 home win, Inter entered the game as pre-match favourites.
After last season’s Coppa Italia triumph, Simone Inzaghi’s side had a chance to make history in Rome by lifting the crown in back-to-back seasons for the third time.
However, the game couldn’t have started worse for last season’s Serie A runners-up. Nicolas Gonzalez put Fiorentina in front only three minutes after the opening whistle, pouncing on Jonathan Ikone’s assist.
Seeking a first taste of Coppa Italia glory since 2000/01, La Viola had high hopes for tonight’s showdown after booking an exciting Europa Conference League final date against West Ham United last week.
Vincenzo Italiano’s men were in cruising control of the proceedings in the opening half an hour before free-scoring Martinez stepped up to the plate to turn the final on its head single-handedly.
Nikola Milenkovic lost track of his fellow defensive colleagues to play the Argentine forward onside, with the 25-year-old hammering the ball home from just inside the box following a precise pass from Marcelo Brozovic.
Only eight minutes after levelling the score, Martinez showcased his poacher’s skills, latching on to Nicolo Barella’s cross to slide the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box and give Inter the lead.
Both sides had their chances in the second half, but the goalkeepers stole the show after the break.
Fiorentina stopper Pietro Terracciano made a decent save to thwart Romelu Lukaku’s close-range thunderbolt, while his Inter counterpart Samir Handanovic pulled off as many as six stops to keep his team up.
The decisive moment of the game took place in the 79th minute when second-half substitute Luka Jovic breezed past his markers, only for Handanovic to make a superb save to keep him at bay.
Despite fighting tooth and nail to restore parity, Fiorentina failed to find their way past Inzaghi’s backline and must hope tonight’s defeat could be a lesson ahead of their upcoming clash against West Ham.
The result handed Inter, who already have a top-four Serie A finish in the bag, another morale boost in the lead-up to their mouth-watering Champions League final against Manchester City.
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