The official website for European football

Inter passage paved by Martins

Published: Wednesday 19 March 2003, 22.26CET
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-2 Internazionale FC Obefami Martins opens the scoring as Inter reach last eight.
Published: Wednesday 19 March 2003, 22.26CET

Inter passage paved by Martins

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-2 Internazionale FC Obefami Martins opens the scoring as Inter reach last eight.

A 2-0 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen ensured Internazionale FC reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League by virtue of finishing in second place in Group A.

Progress secured
Inter began the match a point ahead of Newcastle United FC but knew that a victory would guarantee their progress. In the event, FC Barcelona's 2-0 win at St James' Park rendered Inter's result irrelevant, although the Serie A side inflicted a seventh successive Champions League defeat on Leverkusen - making last season's finalists the first team to lose all six games in the second group stage.

New face
Inter coach Héctor Cúper faced a striker shortage before the match, with Christian Vieri and Alvaro Recoba suspended, Gabriel Batistuta ineligible and Mohamed Kallon and Hernán Crespo injured. The 18-year-old Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins, who had previously played only five games for the first team, was left to lead the away side's attack.

Early chances
Leverkusen coach Thomas Hörster had announced his intention to focus on the 1. Bundesliga for the remainder of the season, and it was perhaps no surprise that Inter enjoyed the better of the early exchanges. Sérgio Conceição's shot flew narrowly over the crossbar in the very first minute, before Francesco Coco's left-wing cross found Domenico Morfeo, who created a clear opening for Martins but the striker shot wide under pressure.

Martins denied
Leverkusen came into the game as the half wore on but struggled to create clear chances, and Martins still looked the more likely source of goals, with his pace causing problems for his marker, Thomas Kleine. Twice more the forward had clear sights of goal but on each occasion he was denied by Hans-Jörg Butt.

Composed finish
However, the young striker did finally break the deadlock after 36 minutes, again bursting clear from Morfeo's pass after the makeshift striker capitalised on a defensive misunderstanding between Diego Placente and Radoslaw Kaluzny. This time Martins gave Butt no chance, calmly sidefooting beyond the goalkeeper and into the net.

Penalty saved
A minute before half-time, Martins again threatened to fashion a scoring chance, only to be brought down by Kleine just inside the penalty area. Presented with an opportunity to virtually seal Inter's place in Friday's quarter-final draw, Morfeo saw his shot saved brilliantly by Butt diving to his left.

Positive start
The home team began the second period in positive fashion, as França went close three times, but largely struggled to break down a determined Inter side. Although Inter seemed content to preserve their narrow lead, Martins very nearly extended it three minutes before the hour as he latched on to a high long ball forward. Again, though, Butt saved, this time with his legs.

Decisive second
Fittingly, Inter sealed maximum points in the final minute as Martins' pass freed Coco. The Italian international's cross found Emre Belözoglu in time and space, and the Turkish midfield player coolly lifted the ball over Butt. While Leverkusen are left to rebuild, Inter can contemplate a possible quarter-final against AC Milan. Some prospect.

Last updated: 02/02/12 3.12CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/news/newsid=59930.html#inter+passage+paved+martins

UEFA.com features

What teams need to get through
  • What teams need to get through
  • Watch the five best acrobatic Champions League goals
  • Ones to watch in the group stage
  • Masterclass: Xavi on passing and control
  • Newcomers ready for Champions League debuts
  • Pick of the Week of Football
  • Berezovski and Frick join Europe's 40-somethings
  • Europe's all-time top international goalscorers
  • Introducing football in Gibraltar ...
  • Given has 'unfinished business' with Ireland
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.