March 21, 2023
Inter Milan frustrates Porto to reach the Champions League quarterfinals

Inter Milan frustrates Porto to reach the Champions League quarterfinals

Inter Milan beat Porto in a tough 0-0 draw on Tuesday to reach the Champions League quarterfinals with a 1-0 aggregate win.

The Italian team, three times champion of this competition, advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011.

For the first time since 2006, both Inter and AC Milan have reached the quarter-finals.

Capitalizing on a one-goal lead from Romelu Lukaku’s last first-leg goal of the last 16, Inter prepared to frustrate at the Estadio do Dragao.

Porto had the better part of the game but only managed to test Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana on a few occasions and failed to reach the last eight for the third time in their last five attempts.

His best chances came in stoppage time at the end, when Mehdi Taremi and Marko Grujic hit the woodwork and Marcano cleared a shot off the line.

“There are so many emotions right now, after so many years we are proud of this achievement,” Inter midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu said.

“We made some mistakes but we did a great job, it was very difficult but I congratulate the team for a great job.”

Inter have faced criticism for their domestic form, but Calhanoglu said this game gave morale a boost.

“Anything can happen in the Champions League, this match gives us back our motivation,” he added.

“We did a great job, we didn’t score but we worked hard until the final whistle and we qualified.”

Aiming to end a slump away from home, Inter manager Simone Inzaghi started with Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez up front, with first-leg winner Romelu Lukaku on the bench.

Porto have a solid recent record against Italian sides, knocking out Juventus and Roma in recent years, but the Portuguese champions failed to score against Inter in 180 minutes.

He was unable to include 40-year-old central veteran Pepe in the squad, stripped of his captain at the last moment.

Porto were also without Otavio, sent off at the San Siro, but Stephen Eustaquio came on for him and impressed.

Matheus Uribe fired a ferocious shot just wide of the Inter goal early on, while Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa made solid saves from Dzeko and Nicolo Barella.

Sergio Conceicao’s side were on the rise for much of the first half and only a good sliding block from Federico Dimarco denied Evanilson.

The hosts could have taken the lead just before the break, but Eustaquio couldn’t reach Brazil winger Pepe’s tempting cross.

– Desperate port –

Grujic tested Andre Onana with a low shot as Porto’s urgency increased, while Galeno also forced the Cameroon international into a save.

Inter lost Alessandro Bastoni to an apparent hamstring injury, but held on tight to their narrow first-leg lead.

Milan Skriniar returned from injury in the closing stages when Inzaghi’s side hunkered down and denied Porto every time.

Porto’s first clear chance of the match came in stoppage time, when Marcano’s effort was cleared off the line by Denzel Dumfries.

The Portuguese side hit the woodwork twice in an agonizing finish, with Onana driving Taremi’s header past the post, before Grujic headed against the bar.

“In the second half we were better, with more possession and more chances. I still can’t believe the ball didn’t go in,” Grujic said.

“The fans supported us and it was good to see that they understood that we gave it our all. We really wanted to win the game.”

“The atmosphere in Dragao was spectacular and now we are very disappointed.”

Porto full-back Pepe was sent off for a second yellow card in the death, and Inter survived the late attack.

The Italians have only won one away game in 2023 and Inzaghi is under pressure, but progression to the quarter-finals gives him more breathing room.


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