PORTO, Portugal (AP) — Heroic defense and hard work helped Inter Milan reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in just over a decade.
Inter drew 0-0 with Porto on Tuesday and advanced 1-0 on aggregate. They join city rivals AC Milan in the last eight teams. Napoli could become the third team to advance to the quarter-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday.
All the drama unfolded in the final five minutes of added time after clearing the ball off the line and the crossbar and post prevented Porto from stealing a goal that would have sent the game into extra time.
“In football, luck is relatively important,” admitted Inter coach Simone Inzaghi. “I think in both games we deserved to reach the quarter-finals, we didn’t concede a goal in 180 minutes against a team used to this type of game.”
There were other clear chances at the Estádio Do Dragão and Inter did enough to secure their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since being knocked out in this instance as defending champions in 2011.
There are no more Champions League restrictions for teams from the same country playing each other, so the two Milan sides could play each other in Friday’s draw – just like in the semi-finals of 2003 and the one in which Milan finally emerged victorious.
Romelu Lukaku scored the winner in the first leg, but the Belgian striker was benched on Tuesday. Inter coach Simone Inzaghi has chosen Edin Džeko as Lautaro Martínez’ attacking partner.