An early second-half header from Nicolo Barella and Romelu Lukaku’s late penalty sealed a a much needed first leg win for the Italian side, and their under-pressure manager Simone Inzaghi.
“I’m getting back in shape, I’m giving a lot to the team, but everyone else is doing it too. We have a responsibility to do well for the club, now we need to do well in the league at the weekend to have the right confidence for the second leg,” said Lukaku after the game.
Inter deserved their victory, creating the better chances with Benfica’s Odysseas Vlachodimos making important second-half saves to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Dumfries to stop a heavier defeat.
After not losing in 17 matches, Benfica have now lost back-to-back games for the first time under Roger Schmidt.
Inter have a crucial clash in terms of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, facing Monza at home in an encounter they are fully expected to win.