Football

Potential Europa win will offer salvation for Inter's ex-Red Devils

The Inter Milan trio of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young, and Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui will clash as foes in the Europa League final tomorrow morning (Singapore time), but they share a common thread - sweet vindication.

Over the season, the Inter triumvirate sealed permanent moves from Manchester United, after being deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

With one game left before the Serie A side conclude their campaign, left-back Young and forwards Lukaku and Sanchez have helped Antonio Conte's men to a second-placed league finish and are on the cusp of European glory, with Sevilla, who ousted United in the Europa League semi-finals, in their way.

Lopetegui will also feel a sense of redemption, two years on from the embarrassment of being sacked as Spain coach on the eve of the World Cup and then getting the boot at Real Madrid after just 14 games in charge.

Lukaku has been integral to the Nerazzuri's impressive campaign, as the Belgian's partnership with Lautaro Martinez has yielded 54 goals.

"I tried many times to sign Lukaku. I knew the characteristics he had," Conte said, before crediting the duo's selflessness.

"They have the typical selfishness of a forward, but also the selflessness to play for the team and help others score."

Sevilla will have their work cut out for them, with defender Jules Kounde saying the Inter hitman is on another level.

"Lukaku is one of the best forwards in the world," Kounde told Uefa.com.

"He's strong, quick, good with the ball at his feet and at knockdowns. He uses his body extremely well. It's a level above anything else we've faced this season. We'll need to up our game."

However, Sevilla are no pushovers in Europe's second-tier competition.

Lopetegui has constructed a team tough to beat, as is evidenced by a club-record run of 20 games without defeat. That has helped Sevilla reach a sixth Europa League final in 14 years and a first top-four finish in La Liga for three seasons.

"Inter will force us to play an extraordinary game. They have magnificent players and an experienced coach," Lopetegui said.

"We are well with the desire and ambition to play a very important game. We will not lack soul."

Football