Both players were issued a yellow card, with Ibrahimovic later being sent off the pitch for receiving a second booking.AC Milan had taken the lead through Ibrahimovic, who fired home in the 31st minute to open the scoring at San Siro.
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Tempers flared up just before the break after Lukaku took exception to a foul by Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli. Ibrahimovic stepped in and squared up to the furious Belgian, with the pair going head to head while exchanging heated words.
Christian Eriksen netted deep in stoppage time after coming off the bench to clinch the 2-1 victory for Inter. Lukaku could clearly be heard by the on-pitch microphone saying to the Swede: “Well let’s go inside you b*tch!”, in an invitation to engage in a further confrontation in the tunnel.
Referee Paolo Valeri attempted to regain some semblance of control by issuing both players a yellow card. Lukaku is now set to miss out on the first leg of the semi-final against Juventus or SPAL. Nicolo Barella also got involved by trying to hold Lukaku back while Fikayo Tomori – making his Milan debut after just joining on loan from Chelsea – aimed to hold back Ibrahimovic.
As the first half drew to a close, both players continued to be restrained as the teams went down the tunnel for half-time. Just after the second half began, Ibrahimovic received a second yellow card for a challenge on Inter defender Aleksandar Kolarov and was sent off in an incident that did not involve Lukaku.
Lukaku and Ibrahimovic were team-mates at one point, playing together at Manchester United during the 2017-18 campaign. Last year, Lukaku spoke of his admiration for the Swede, saying he was impressed by his ability to remain in such good form at an age when most players have already retired.
“Ibra is a champion, I respect him,” Lukaku told Tiki Taka. “In Manchester, I could train every day with him, that was the most beautiful thing for me. It will be nice to play against him. He is a great champion and professional. “For me, it’s not normal that he can do those things at the age of 38. He works a lot; he always gave me advice when we played together in Manchester.”