Shevchenko returns to place Milan in charge over city rivals

Milan 2 - Internazionale 0
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The Independent Online

Headers from Jaap Stam and Andrei Shevchenko gave Milan a potentially decisive victory over city rivals Internazionale in their Champions' League quarter-final, first-leg last night.

Headers from Jaap Stam and Andrei Shevchenko gave Milan a potentially decisive victory over city rivals Internazionale in their Champions' League quarter-final, first-leg last night.

The scoreline was slightly flattering to the home side as the Inter coach, Roberto Mancini, said afterwards. "They weren't two goals better than us," he claimed, "and Dida kept them in it in the first half before we were caught cold before the break."

Inter had shaded the first half and forced several fine saves from the Milan goalkeeper. Dida had to move smartly to tip away a 25-yard free-kick from Sinisa Mihajlovic and was forced to dive full length to keep out a curling shot from Julio Cruz.

However, on the stroke of half-time Milan took the lead. Stam lost his marker in the area and met Andrea Pirlo's wickedly flighted free-kick from the right with a precise header that left Francesco Toldo helpless.

Milan, buoyed by the goal, took hold of the game in the second half. Shevchenko nearly connected with a dipping cross from Kaka and the Ukrainian striker, back in the side after recovering from a fractured cheekbone sustained six weeks ago, scored Milan's second in the 74th minute.

Pirlo fired in another free-kick on the right and with the Inter defence concentrating on Stam, Shevchenko stole in at the far post unmarked to head home.

"It was a difficult match for me after a long absence," Shevchenko said. "It's a good result but we must not feel safe." The Milan coach, Carlo Ancelotti, was also pleased with his goal. "Given his injury, it was good for him to score with a header," Ancelotti said.

Milan (4-3-1-2): Dida; Cafu (Costacurta, 89), Nesta (Kaladze, 70), Stam, Maldini; Gattuso, Seedorf, Pirlo; Kaka; Shevchenko, Crespo (Ambrosini, 84). Substitutes not used: Abbiati (gk), Rui Costa, Tomasson, Serginho.

Internazionale (4-4-2): Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Mihajlovic, Favalli; Veron (Karagounis, 70), C Zanetti (Van der Meyde, 81), Cambiasso, Stankovic; Cruz (Vieri, 55), Martins. Substitutes not used: Fontana (gk), Ze Maria, Gonzalez, Materazzi.

Referee: A Sars (France)

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