Inter Milan took control of the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Benfica with a comfortable 2-0 win on Tuesday. Despite recent struggles, Inter Milan demonstrated their clinical finishing, with Nicolo Barella scoring the first goal from a cross by Alessandro Bastoni. Substitute Romelu Lukaku sealed the victory with a penalty kick in the final minutes of the game. In contrast, Benfica was unable to create any clear chances and struggled to contain Inter Milan’s high pressing game, leaving them with a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Inter Milan has won the Champions League three times and now has a solid chance of advancing to the semi-finals with a potential all-Italian encounter against either Napoli or AC Milan. Benfica will need to put in a much-improved performance to overturn the deficit. The second leg of the quarter-finals will be held on April 19th at the San Siro.
Meanwhile, in another quarter-final fixture, Manchester City delivered a statement performance against Bayern Munich. Bayern had previously won all eight games in this season’s competition, including victories against Inter Milan, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain under former coach Julian Nagelsmann. However, Manchester City dominated the game, with goals from Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and Erling Haaland. Although Bayern had chances, with Leroy Sane forcing three saves from Ederson early in the second half, City’s attacking power was too much for Bayern to handle.
City has struggled in the past to perform in the Champions League, with losses to underdogs Monaco, Tottenham, and Lyon. Despite dominating English football with four league titles, one FA Cup, and four League Cups, Guardiola has yet to win the Champions League with City. The closest he came was in 2021 when beaten in the final by a Chelsea team managed by Tuchel. However, Guardiola remains reluctant to look beyond the next fixture, knowing that two good games are required to knock out the top teams.
Guardiola’s team demonstrated maturity and resilience, showing that they have learned from past failures. The quarter-finals continue with the second legs of the fixtures taking place next week.