Mourinho joy as Sneijder strikes early to send Inter into last four

CSKA Moscow 0 Internazionale 1 (Inter win 2-0 on aggregate)


Internazionale cruised into the last four of the Champions League for the first time since 2003 last night as Jose Mourinho's side produced a controlled and professional performance that made light of any fears they would struggle to defend a slender 1-0 first-leg advantage in Moscow.

After only six minutes Wesley Sneijder had doubled that aggregate lead when his low free-kick found its way through the CSKA Moscow wall and beyond goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. Things got worse for the hosts when they had substitute Chidi Odiah sent off early in the second half and Inter were comfortably able to repel any pressure from the Russian side.

Overhauling their first-leg deficit always looked like being a tough task for CSKA, given the way they were outplayed at San Siro last week and the absence of key midfielder Yevgeny Aldonin and Milos Krasic through suspension. But they had an early effort on goal from Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda, who dragged a long-range effort wide. Then Inter landed an early body blow as they opened the scoring.

Sneijder drilled in a low free-kick that flew under the leaping wall and fooled Akinfeev to end up in the back of the net. That goal meant the hosts needed to score three goals to have any chance of going through and Inter went close to getting their second goal of the night as Macedonian striker Goran Pandev had a sight of goal, but Akinfeev comfortably held his shot.

Conceding prompted an early response from CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky as he took off defender Vasili Berezutsky after just 14 minutes to replace him with Odiah. Honda then fired wide with two optimistic free-kick efforts from distance, but the home side did go close to grabbing a goal back when Tomas Necid fired agonisingly wide after controlling Odiah's pass in the 24th minute.

CSKA then carved out another chance in the 34th minute as they broke quickly through Mark Gonzalez, but Alan Dzagoev made a mess of the finish, scuffing the ball infield as he drove into the box. That miss was almost instantly punished as Sneijder's excellent lofted ball played Diego Milito in, but the Argentine forward could only hit his shot at Akinfeev.

Odiah then saw Julio Cesar tip his shot round the post at the other end, but the Italian champions looked comfortable soaking up any CSKA pressure.

Just after half-time Odiah was dismissed as his rash lunge for a loose ball saw him bring down Samuel Eto'o to earn a second yellow card. But they continued to push forward in search of a goal and Gonzalez had two chances in the space of a minute. The former Liverpool winger first smashed a half-volley that Cesar did well to hang on to, before dragging another effort wide from the edge of the box.

With 20 minutes to go Mourinho's side were dominating possession, sweeping the ball around almost at will, and Sneijder and Dejan Stankovic both forced Akinfeev into action with powerful efforts. The keeper then did superbly to keep out Milito's effort when the Inter striker was through on goal.

The game rather petered out from that point, although Eto'o just failed to add a second as he shot over the bar in the final minutes.

CSKA Moscow (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev; A Berezutsky, V Berezutsky (Odiah, 14), Ignashevich, Shchennikov; Semberas, Mamaev; Dzagoev, Honda (Rahimic, 77), Gonzalez; Necid (Guilherme, 71). Substitutes not used: Chepchugov (gk), Nababkin, Piliev, Oliseh.

Internazionale (4-2-3-1): Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti; Stankovic, Cambiasso; Pandev (Chivu, 63), Sneijder (Muntari, 86), Eto'o; Milito (Balotelli, 74). Substitutes not used: Orlandoni (gk), Cordoba, Quaresma, Materazzi.

Referee: S Lannoy (France).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us