Inter 2-1 Parma (aet): Acerbi header sends Nerazzurri through in Coppa Italia as holders survive scare

By Sports Desk January 10, 2023

Holders Inter are through to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia but had to survive a scare before eventually beating Serie B side Parma 2-1 after extra time at San Siro.

Stanko Juric's ferocious effort towards the end of the first half looked like it was going to be enough for Fabio Pecchia's team, before Lautaro Martinez found the equaliser with Inter's first shot on target in the 88th minute.

The Nerazzurri were holding on at times in extra time as well, before Francesco Acerbi won it with a fine header.

Simone Inzaghi made seven changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Monza on Saturday, with Danilo D'Ambrosio, Robin Gosens and Denzel Dumfries among those coming in, while Gianluigi Buffon started in goal for Parma, but the 44-year-old had very little to do for the first 87 minutes of the tie.

After a quiet opening, it was the Serie B side who took a surprise lead in the 38th minute when Adrian Bernabe's ball forward was flicked by Simon Sohm into the path of Juric, who had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes after replacing the injured Dennis Man, and he fired a rocket of a shot into the top right corner past the hopeful dive of Andre Onana.

As Inter continued to struggle to break Parma down in the second half, Inzaghi turned to his substitutes, including Edin Dzeko as he went for it with an attacking trio of the Bosnian alongside Martinez and Joaquin Correa, and it eventually paid off.

With just over two minutes of normal time remaining, a deep ball in from Kristjan Asllani was only cleared as far as Martinez, whose shot deflected off Yordan Osorio and past Buffon to the relief of the home fans and to force extra time, though not before the former Juventus keeper made a smart stop to deny Dzeko a late winner.

The impressive visitors took the game to Inter in the extra 30 minutes, with Antoine Hainaut firing just wide after intercepting a loose pass from Roberto Gagliardini, but Inter stepped it up in the second period and won it thanks to Acerbi after Buffon punched a Federico Dimarco cross straight to the waiting centre-back, who headed it back over him and into the net.

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