Internazionale 2 Villarreal 1: Martins gives Inter edge after Forlan's early shock

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger will probably turn more of an eye to Internazionale than Villarreal after the Italians fought back here last night to take an advantage back to Spain for next week's second leg of their Champions' League quarter-final. Arsenal, if they overcome Juventus on Wednesday, will face the winner of this tie and the odds are set for another Anglo-Italian contest, with a place in the final in Paris the reward.

Roberto Mancini's side may be third in Serie A behind Juventus and Milan but they showed more guts and fight than the division's leaders did at Highbury on Tuesday.

Diego Forlan had threatened to make it a bad week for Italy after stunning Inter with an opener after just 45 seconds. The former Manchester United striker pounced after goalkeeper Francesco Toldo had parried a shot from Jose Mari.

Forlan's effort jolted the hosts - who were still nursing their wounds after going down to Parma 1-0 at the weekend - into action.

But the equaliser came from an unlikely source six minutes after the game's first goal when Adriano repaid Mancini's faith in him. The Brazilian striker had scored just three goals in all competitions since the start of the year but his fourth, after good work from Dejan Stankovic, got Inter back on track.

The Spaniards, unbeaten in their previous 11 away games in Europe, refused to be rattled but less than 10 minutes after the restart the Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins made home advantage count for the Italians, turning in Stankovic's cross-shot at the back post.

Despite losing, Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini refused to be downhearted. "We had a lot of players missing. I'm very optimistic and the tie is still very open. I hope we can win 1-0 in the return leg to see us through," he said.

Internazionale (4-4-2): Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Samuel, Wome; Stankovic (Gonzalez, 82), Veron, Cambiasso, Cesar (Materazzi, 69); Recoba (Martins, 28), Adriano. Substitutes not used: Julio Cesar, C Zanetti, Pizarro, Cruz.

Villarreal (4-4-2): Viera; Venta, Rodriguez, Pena, Sorin;Riquelme, Arzo (Alvarez, 60), Senna, Calleja (Cazorla, 87); Jose (Franco, 76), Forlan. Substitutes not used: Barbosa, Roger, Alcantara, Rubio.

Referee: D Ledentu (France).