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Internazionale hold off Porto to reach quarter-finals for first time in 12 years

2023-03-14
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Inter players celebrate after holding on for a goalless draw in Porto to progress with a 1-0 aggregate win.

Internazionale reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2011 after a goalless draw in Porto secured their progression.

Romelu Lukaku’s goal four minutes from the end of the first leg was enough to see Inter through, where they join their city rivals Milan. Mehdi Taremi came within inches of forcing the tie to extra time when he rattled the crossbar in the closing stages.

The Portuguese side were reduced to 10 men in the seventh minute of injury time when the winger Pepê was shown a second yellow card.

On-loan Chelsea striker Lukaku came on for Inter 20 minutes from time, replacing Edin Dzeko who had come closest to scoring for Simone Inzaghi’s side with a low effort that was saved by Diogo Costa. The Inter goalkeeper André Onana made several crucial saves late on to ensure they hung on to their slender lead.

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Mehdi Taremi hits the bar with his header. Photograph: Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

“We played an excellent game, the group stayed compact and played a great match. Excellent first half,” Inzaghi told Mediaset afterwards. “In the last part of the match we all suffered together – honour to this group.”

“In football, luck matters relatively,” the Inter head coach added. “In the two-legged match, we deserved to advance. Now we will play the quarter-finals with a lot of confidence.”

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Napoli could make it three Serie A clubs in the last eight on Wednesday for the first time since 2006. The runaway league leaders hold a 2-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt from the first leg, with the second leg at home.

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