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C1: Inter Milan do the bare minimum to dismiss Porto

Inter Milan qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League by snatching a draw from Porto (0-0) who, after the defeat conceded on the wire in the first leg (1-0), missed Tuesday from veteran Pepe’s voice of command.

The Nerazzuri, who have not played in a C1 quarter-final since 2011, somehow withstood the offensive pressure of the Dragons and, at the end of the two legs, elimination was decided on the goal scored by the Belgian Romelu Lukaku three weeks ago at the San Siro stadium, when the Lusitanian team was reduced to ten.

On Tuesday, the two successive balls which hit the uprights of Inter goalkeeper André Onana in stoppage time will remain as a symbol of the impotence of the Portuguese, who will not have been inferior overall.

At kick-off, Lukaku was again left on the bench, with Simone Inzaghi preferring to field Edin Dzeko alongside captain Lautaro Martinez.

The Italian coach has thus composed an eleven starting without surprise, with an midfield animated by Nicolo Barella, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Hakan Calhanoglu, man of the first leg who has benefited since January from the injury of Marcelo Brozovic.

It was up to Porto to take the initiative to cancel out their late goal, but the Portuguese suffered the unexpected absence of Portuguese international Pepe, who is believed to be suffering from a physical problem and replaced at the center position by his compatriot Fabio Cardoso.

– Onana shines –

Interist goalkeeper Andre Onana disgusted the Porto attackers at the Dragon stadium on March 14, 2023 (AFP - PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)
Interist goalkeeper Andre Onana disgusted the Porto attackers at the Dragon stadium on March 14, 2023 (AFP – PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA)

The Dragons defense boss could have become, at 40 years and 16 days, the second-oldest outfield player to play in a Champions League knockout game, overtaking Italian Alessandro Costacurta to become the Welshman’s runner-up Ryan Giggs (40 years and 123 days).

And if playmaker Otavio was suspended, coach Sérgio Conceiçao was at least able to launch Iranian Mehdi Taremi, who lacked precision when he entered the Italian area (28th).

Nerazzuri goalkeeper André Onana shone more, on the parade against attempts by Uribe (3rd), Eustaquio (19th) or Evanilson (39th).

Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa also showed his good reflexes on an attempt by Dzeko (21st). Then Martinez found himself far too alone to take advantage of an error by Uribe, from whom he had just stolen the ball (45+2).

At the break, Porto had 68% possession of the ball, but only one shot more (5 against 4).

Same scenario after the locker room. On the Porto side, Uribe shot above the crossbar (48th), then Galeno and Grujic lost their duels against Onana (55th, 76th). Opposite, Barella did not take advantage of the ball lost by midfielder Pepê (53rd).

FC Porto gave their last strength in added time but, on two consecutive plays, Onana deflected a header from Taremi on his post and that of Grujic found the crossbar (90 + 5).

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