In what turned out to be a cagey affair on the pitch, the whole event was upstaged by an ugly melee that ensued at the final whistle.

Romelu Lukaku replied to Juan Cuadrado’s opener by converting a last-minute spot-kick, ending the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final in a 1-1 draw.

However, the Belgian’s controversial celebration (which came as a reaction to racial abuse from some individuals in the Curva Sud) sparked a brawl that resulted in his dismissal along with Cuadrado and Inter captain Samir Handanovic.

But let’s leave the ugly row for authorities and investigating committees. What concerns us the most as football fans is the action on the pitch.

So how will the three red cards affect the decisive second leg which will take place at the Giuseppe Meazza on April 26? And which club will be the more damaged party?

In hindsight, Inter appears to be the more harmed side, at least if all suspensions stand. After all, Simone Inzaghi will be missing the services of two banned players, while Juan Cuadrado will be the lone suspended Juventus star.

Nonetheless, we no longer live in 2020. In other words, Lukaku is currently a mere shadow of the devastating striker who led Antonio Conte’s squad towards the 20/21 Scudetto title while earning himself the Serie A MVP award.

Nowadays, Inzaghi’s preferred striking partnership is Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko. Despite the Bosnian’s current barren run, he remains an influential veteran upfront who’s vastly appreciated by his manager and teammates alike.

As for Handanovic, the 38-year-old can’t get playing time these days in the presence of a younger and more reliable alternative in the shape of André Onana. If anything, the Slovenian’s suspension could be a blessing in disguise for Inzaghi who will be relieved from the obligation to play the aging captain in cup matches.

On the contrary, Juventus will dearly miss the services of Juan Cuadrado. One of the blunders that the club committed in the recent January transfer window was the failure to acquire a new wingback who can offer the Colombian proper competition.

At the moment, Mattia De Sciglio is the lone natural replacement on the right flank – a hardly inspiring solution if you ask most Bianconeri fans.

So despite what the numbers may suggest, Juventus appear to be the more damaged party in the aftermath of the ugly melee which erupted at the Allianz Stadium. Because while Inter will comfortably replace their suspended pair, they will also be spared from facing the bogeyman who has often been a thorn in their side.