That was incredible, says Leonardo after Inter stun Bayern
Bayern Munich 2 Internazionale 3 (3-3 on aggregate. Inter win on away goals)
Wednesday 16 March 2011
Internazionale staged a remarkable second-half fightback to knock Bayern Munich out of the Champions League at the Allianz Arena last night. Goran Pandev curled home the decisive goal in the 88th minute as Inter overturned their 1-0 first-leg deficit.
The Italians, who beat the Bundesliga side in last year's final, looked down and out at half-time as some truly inept defending left them trailing 2-1 on the night, 3-1 on aggregate. Goals from Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller, following mistakes by goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Lucio, had the hosts in control after Samuel Eto'o had grabbed an early opener – and they should have been far out of sight. But in the second half it was the Bayern backline which went to pieces.
"It's difficult to explain this game," said the Inter coach Leonardo. "It couldn't have started better for us, but then we gave them more room and that's when they are dangerous.
"It was tough, after losing in the last minute at home, to turn this game around. I always believed, however, and when we equalised at 2-2, I knew everything was possible. It was a really incredible game."
The hosts got off to a nightmare start as Pandev's pass with the outside of his left foot sent Eto'o through on the left-hand side of the area and the Cameroonian finished neatly with just three minutes gone.
But a calamitous error by Julio Cesar handed Bayern the equaliser. The Brazilian fumbled a routine shot from Arjen Robben and Gomez, as the keeper came out to close him down, hooked the bouncing ball into the net.
Ten minutes later, Bayern were ahead. Robben played a pass that reached Müller, who scored with a dinked finish. Franck Ribéry should have added another when he scampered clear in acres of space, but Julio Cesar produced a fine save.
Inter stunned the hosts against the run of play after the break. Sneijder guided a right-footed finish low into the far-left corner from 25 yards after Eto'o's lay-off. Bayern were on the back foot and Pandev finished them off.
The Bayern coach Louis van Gaal was understandably deflated. "When we lose such a game it's very disappointing because it's our own fault. We can't say that Inter was better but we are the ones who are out."
Bayern Munich (4-4-1-1): Kraft; Lahm, Van Buyten (Badstuber, 70), Breno (Kroos, 90), Pranjic; Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Robben (Altintop, 68), Muller; Ribéry; Gomez. Substitutes not used Butt (gk), Ottl, Klose, Tymoschuk.
Internazionale (4-3-3): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Ranocchia, Lucio, Chivu (Nagatomo, 87); Stankovic (Coutinho, 51), Motta, Cambiasso; Eto'o, Sneijder, Pandev (Kharja, 90). Substitutes not used Castellazzi (gk), Cordoba, Mariga, Materazzi.
Referee P Proenca (Lisbon).
* Barcelona last night announced that central defender Eric Abidal has a tumour on his liver and will undergo an operation on Friday. His absence for any length of time would be a severe blow to the La Liga leaders given his superb form this season.
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