GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany: Romelu Lukaku and Christian Eriksen were on target as Inter Milan moved into the last eight of the Europa League with a 2-0 win over Getafe last night.
The single-match, neutral-venue tie, played at the Veltins-Arena, was rearranged after the scheduled fixtures in March were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Getafe, who finished eighth in La Liga, started strongly and went close to an opener when Nemanja Maksimovic’s header was superbly saved by Inter keeper Samir Handanovic.
Yet Inter responded with Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez twice forcing good saves out of David Soria before Lukaku opened the scoring, latching on to a long ball, holding off Xabier Etxeita and drilling into the bottom corner.
Getafe responded well after the break with Jaime Mata seeing a header tipped over by Handanovic before they were given a great chance to get on level terms when the VAR spotted a handball in the box by Inter defender Diego Godin.
Yet 38-year-old substitute Jorge Molina put his poorly-struck penalty wide and from then on Inter never looked in danger.
After Lukaku, who has now scored in his last eight Europa League matches, missed a golden chance from close range, Inter made sure of the win through substitute Eriksen.
Moments after being introduced, the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, made no mistake as he took full advantage of a poor attempted clearance from Djene Dakonam.
Meanwhile, former Europa League winners Manchester United booked a quarter-final spot after their second-string side laboured to a 2-1 home win over LASK Linz to seal a 7-1 aggregate rout of the Austrian side.
United’s reward is a clash with FC Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday after the Danish side beat Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0 at home earlier yesterday to wipe out a 1-0 first-leg deficit.
United, who won Europe’s second-tier club competition in 2017, appeared to be going through the motions and fell behind to a spectacular Philipp Wiesinger goal in the 55th minute before Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replied.
Having been virtually assured of progress after a 5-0 win at LASK in March, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a below-strength side at Old Trafford and they looked completely at sea for an hour.
LASK took a deserved lead when United half cleared a corner and Wiesinger gave home goalkeeper Sergio Romero no chance with a screaming first-time shot from 25 metres into the top corner.
Falling behind finally spurred United into action and Lingard equalised after a defence-splitting pass by Juan Mata left him with time and space to steer his shot past goalkeeper Alexander Schlager.
Late substitute Martial completed United’s comeback on the night in the 88th minute when his close-range shot trickled over the line after squeezing through Schlager’s legs.