#Inter boss Inzaghi: ‘We had fun playing and our fans had fun singing Inter chants’
#Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri: ‘I am disappointed, we have not played well’
#Inter now seek to retain Supercup in Riyadh by beating Napoli in Monday’s final
A delighted Simone Inzaghi hailed a Friday night of fun on the pitch and in the stands as Inter eased into the EA SPORTS FC Supercup final in Riyadh.
Inter happily sealed a place in Monday’s final against Napoli by defeating Lazio 3-0 in the semi-final at Al Awwal Park on Friday night through goals from Marcus Thuram, Hakan Calhanoglu and Davide Frattesi.
With the scoreline a replica of the one Inter beat AC Milan in Riyadh last year to lift their seventh Supercup, Inter manager Inzaghi says his side are full of confidence as they try and retain the trophy.
Inzaghi said: “For the past two years we have played well, and we are looking forward and focusing on Monday night’s game. I am very satisfied for our fans that came a long way to watch us play and for the Inter fans here in Riyadh. We had fun playing tonight and our fans had fun and were singing Inter chants.”
Praising the warm welcome Inter have once again received in the Saudi Arabian capital city, Inzaghi added: “We have a great hotel and a great training ground, and the weather here is more clement than in Italy at the moment.”
Matteo Darmian, Inter’s right wing-back, said: “It was a difficult game, but we were deserved winners. We always try to attack and press the opponent and today we created a lot of chances in the first half and deserved more goals.
“In the second half we created more chances and closed the game. This year it’s like two finals. We did our job in the first one and now it’s on to the next one, the final. We came here last year and won, and we want to lift the trophy in the final.”
Thuram – the son of France World Cup-winning legend Lillian – side-footed Inter into the lead in the 17th minute, converting the most impudent of near-post flicks from Federico DiMarco after Alessandro Bastoni’s cross from the left.
“Nicolo Barella could have made it two following a lovely passage of play, but his volley struck the bar.
Barely had the second half begun and Inter, however, were 2-0 ahead when Lautaro Martinez – who later also struck the bar – was fouled in the box. Following a VAR check, Calhanoglu rifled home into the bottom corner from 12 yards with his right foot.
Substitute Frattesi sealed the win by tucking home the third goal with three minutes remaining after Inter took advantage of a misplaced Luis Alberto pass to break decisively from their own half.
Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri said: “I am disappointed, aside from the fact that we were facing Inter, a very important team, we have not played well. We have to learn lessons from these negative experiences and performances at a tactical and mental level.”
The former Chelsea manager, who lost an FA Community Shield final to Manchester City 2-0 in 2018, added: “I am used to losing the Supercup. I lost a few years ago in England. I hope to promise our fans the end of such performances.”
Inter, the current Lega Serie A leaders as well as Supercup holders, face Napoli, the current Serie A champions, in the EA SPORTS FC Supercup final at Al Awwal Park in Riyadh on Monday January 22. Kick off is at 10pm. Napoli earned their spot in the final by beating Fiorentina 3-0 on Thursday.
The 36th edition of the historic Supercoppa Italiana marks the fourth time that the prestigious competition is being held in Saudi Arabia. This year’s Supercup is the latest illustration of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to host the very best international events across all sports, with football right at the forefront.
While enabling the Kingdom to build relationships and showcase the unique football culture to the world, hosting events like these provides new opportunities for the Saudi people to be inspired, pursue dreams, and realise potential.
Italy’s Supercup follows the recent success of its four-team Spanish counterpart earlier this month, which concluded with Real Madrid defeating Barcelona in an incredible Spanish Super Cup final in Riyadh. The competition also featured La Liga sides Atletico Madrid and CA Osasuna.
Both competitions help kick-start an incredible year-round schedule of international sports in the Kingdom, with football, motorsport, tennis, esports, combat sports, golf, and equestrian events all locked in for 2024.