Romelu Lukaku’s brace carried Inter to the quarter finals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night, with Borja Valero and Andrea Ranocchia also finding the back of the net in a comfortable 4-1 win over Cagliari.
The Belgian needed just 21 seconds to put Inter into the lead, with Lukaku capitalising on a horrific mistake from Cagliari midfielder Christian Oliva before picking out the bottom corner of the net.
Lukaku saw a second goal ruled out after a tight offside call which survived a review from the Video Assistant Referee just 10 minutes later, but Inter’s lead was eventually doubled thanks to Valero’s unorthodox finish.
Lukaku did get his second of the match just after half time with a well-guided header inside Robin Olsen’s far post, while at the other end of the pitch Radja Nainggolan was denied a goal against his parent club by the base of the post.
Cagliari eventually found the back of the net when Oliva made up for his earlier mistake with a powerful strike from the edge of the penalty area, but Ranocchia was able to hit back for the hosts before the full-time whistle to book their place in the next round of the Coppa Italia.
Key Talking Point
Inter were given the biggest helping hand just a few seconds into the match to take the lead and Cagliari continued to look suspect at the back throughout the game, but Antonio Conte’s side didn’t let their dominance get to their heads.
The Nerazzurri continued to fight for every ball and wouldn’t let Cagliari build any sort of rhythm in the match, ultimately letting the visitors be the architects of their own downfall at San Siro.
Even after extending their lead just after half time, Inter maintained the same level of intensity and Conte’s side were only denied a first clean sheet in almost a month after Christian Oliva picked out the top corner of Samir Handanović’s goal.
Handanovic (7); Godin (7), Ranocchia (8), Skriniar (7); Lazaro (7), Barella (7), Brozovic (8), Valero (8), Dimarco (7); Lukaku (9*), Alexis (8).
Substitutes: Esposito (7), Sensi (7), Biraghi (6).
With two goals to his name against Cagliari, Inter fans were once again in full voice to sing the praises of Belgium international Romelu Lukaku.
The striker was alert from the first minute as he scored just 21 seconds into the match, while he found the back of the net two more times – one was disallowed for offside – to help Inter cruise into the next round of the Coppa Italia.
Olsen (4), Farago (5), Walukiewicz (6), Pisacane (5), Lykogiannis (5); Nandez (5), Oliva (5), Ionita (6), Nainggolan (7), Castro (6); Cerri (5).
Substitutes: Rog (7), Pedro (6), Birsa (6).
Inter will be looking to return to winning ways in Serie A when they travel to Lecce this weekend, with their opponents sitting just one point above the relegation zone.
Cagliari are at Brescia, but they’ll be returning to San Siro at the end of the month with another match against Antonio Conte’s Inter.
For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!