Romelu Lukaku netted a last-gasp leveller in Inter Milan’s dramatic 1-1 draw at Juventus on Tuesday which left their Italian Cup semi-final all square after the first leg.
Belgium striker Lukaku rolled in from the penalty spot deep in stoppage time to keep both teams level ahead of the second leg in Milan later this month, before then being sent off following his celebrations in front of the home fans.
Lukaku, who was already on a booking for a late foul on Federico Gatti, put his finger in front of his mouth and told the crowd to “shut up” as his joyous teammates swamped him.
Reports that the 29-year-old had been racially abused by some home supporters as he prepared to take his penalty were not confirmed by either Inter coach Simone Inzaghi or his Juve counterpart Massimiliano Allegri.
Juan Cuadrado thought he had given Juventus a lead to take to the San Siro in the 83rd minute of an intense match between bitter rivals in Turin which featured few goalscoring chances and ended with both teams at each other’s throats.
Cuadrado and Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic were both sent off following the final whistle after a scuffle which continued as the teams went into the tunnel at the Allianz Stadium.
“What happened was that Lukaku’s celebrations were misunderstood, as he always celebrates like that,”
“We were on top without being able to score, but I can’t criticise my players, it was a good performance.”Said Inzaghi to Mediaset.
Lukaku’s spot-kick is good news for Inzaghi who is under pressure after a poor run of results which has led to them dropping to fourth in Serie A.
Angel Di Maria was unlucky not to put Juve ahead just after kick-off with a low drive which was brilliantly tipped away by Mattia Perin.
Inter grew into the game and were probably the better team after the break, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan dragging a great chance a whisker wide in the 64th minute after a spell of pressure from the away side.
Juve should however have taken the lead in the 77th minute when Arkadiusz Milik somehow failed to poke home Cuadrado’s mishit shot with the goal at his mercy.
Cuadrado then found what he thought was the decisive goal when he collected Adrien Rabiot’s diverted cross and finished well past Handanovic before doing a victory jig on the sidelines.
But then Gleison Bremer gift-wrapped a chance for Lukaku to score his sixth goal of a troubled season at Inter with a silly handball, after which all hell broke loose.
“I don’t know what happened, I went into the tunnel after the final whistle,”
“It’s nothing, just a bit of chaos at the end of an even game.”Said Allegri.
On Wednesday struggling Cremonese try to secure what would be a shock cup final spot when they host in-form Fiorentina.