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Goals escape, but Inter Milan fall to Lazio on penalties

Nainggolan fails to connect; Lazio through in the Coppa Italia.

FC Internazionale v SS Lazio- Coppa Italia
Radja Nainggolan of FC Internazionale shows his dejection after misses a penalty kick during the Coppa Italia match between FC Internazionale and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 31, 2019 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

In the first half of the extra time period, it looked as if Inter Milan would fail in its bid to win hardware for the first time since 2011.

As it was, a penalty from Mauro Icardi in the second half of extra time breathed hope.

However, a missed penalty during a shootout from Radja Nainggolan kept the Nerazzurri’s drought in tact as Lazio defeated Inter 4-3 on penalties in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia Thursday.

It marks the second straight year Inter were knocked out of the Coppa Italia quarters. It also erased an early 3-0 defeat Lazio suffered at the hands of the Nerazzurri in October.

For Lazio, they will take on AC Milan in a two-legged semi-final while Atalanta will battle Fiorentina in the other half of the draw.

Inter’s hopes were nearly dashed in the 108th minute when Ciro Immobile tapped a shot past Samir Handanovic, putting Lazio ahead 1-0.

But, in the second half of extra time, Danilo D’Ambrosio was taken down and the referee initially awarded a free kick. However, after a review from the video-assisted referee, Inter was awarded a penalty.

Icardi, who had been held in check for most of the game, and most of 2019, stepped up and planted a ball past Thomas Strakosha to tie the match in the closing seconds of extra time.

That sent the match into penalties.

With the teams tied 1-1 after the first set of penalties, Lautaro Martinez found his attempt pushed away by Strakosha. However, Handanovic responded by saving the next shot for Lazio from Riza Durmisi.

Both teams connected on the next set of penalties before Nainggolan stepped up to maintain the advantage for Inter. He placed his shot straight into the hands of Strakosha at the center of goal.

That left Lucas Leiva to win the match for Lazio. His shot sent Handanovic the opposite way giving Lazio the win.

Through the first 90 minutes of play, neither team could establish a foothold on the match.

Inter continued to lack in creativity to find anyone open near the net and Lazio seemed to play timidly for most of the match.

Antonio Candreva had an opportunity to score for Inter in the 62nd minute, but he missed a wide-open shot wide to the right.

Inter nearly had a second attempt in the 97th minute, but Icardi seemed to be pushed down in the box as Marcelo Brozovic placed a nice cross into him off a set piece.

While Inter players sought a penalty, none was given, sending the match into extra time.

Inter now return to Serie A play when they host Bologna on Sunday, Feb. 3. They have a few weeks before the first leg of their Europa League tie at Rapid Vienna on Feb. 14.

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