Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi is glad to have seen his team progress to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals after a dramatic 3-2 win over Empoli.
Speaking to InterTV after the match, the coach hailed midfielder Stefano Sensi in particular, who scored the winner in extra time to book the Nerazzurri’s place in the quarter-finals off the bench.
It took extra time for Inzaghi’s team to get the better of Empoli, having gone ahead in the first half before allowing the Tuscans to fight their way back into it and take the lead after a resurgent performance in the second half.
Andrea Ranocchia found an unlikely equalizer through a sensational overhead volley late on in normal time, but the match-winning hero as it had been in the Supercoppa Italia against Juventus was a player who came off the bench.
Sensi has struggled for playing time due to fitness and form issues this season, but the 26-year-old improved the team when he came on and sent his team through to face either Roma or Lecce in the next round with a well-taken goal in extra time.
“I’m very happy for him,” Inzaghi stated, “he deserved an evening like this. Sensi’s qualities certainly aren’t new to us, he made the best possible impact, he helped us get to the next round and he deserves to celebrate.”
The coach also updated on the situation of Joaquin Correa who came off injured early in the match, stating that “He will be evaluated in the next few days, he has an issue, it’s the only sour note for the evening and we’ll see how bad it is in the next few days.”
Analyzing the match, Inzaghi stated that “I think we had an excellent first half in which we came up against a great goalkeeper who we forced into two or three difficult saves, congratulations to him.”
“We might have deserved a few more goals,” he said of the first half, “and then in the second half we lost our composure, we got stretched.”
“Empoli made us suffer with their quality when we left spaces,” he added, “but the guys didn’t give up, they put everything into it and we go to the quarter-finals with a lot of confidence.”
On Ranocchia’s equalizer the coach stated that “He had already gone close with a header, then he did very well on the goal to make it 2-2.”
“But Andrea always scored his goals in the penalty area,” he went on. “He had an excellent game like his teammates, and we completed a great comeback in an important match.”
“Our main regret is about the first half because we had to score a few more goals based on the half we had against an excellent opponent,” Inzaghi reflected.
“Then unfortunately, once they equalized we lost our compactness and then they showed their quality and we suffered from it, but I’m happy with the reaction my team showed,” he concluded.