Much like their final opponents, FC Internazionale Milano initially struggled to produce their best form in the UEFA Champions League, drawing the first three games. Since squeezing through the group stage, however, José Mourinho's side have been mightily impressive, with Chelsea FC and holders FC Barcelona among their victims en route to Madrid. UEFA.com looks back on Inter's passage to the final.
Inter and Barcelona swapped Zlatan Ibrahimović and Samuel Eto'o in the summer and the pair were reunited with their former employers as the teams met in Milan on Matchday 1, sharing a goalless draw. Inter then drew 1-1 at FC Rubin Kazan, Dejan Stanković scoring their equaliser, before twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 at home with FC Dynamo Kyiv. A dramatic 2-1 win in Ukraine provided some much-needed impetus – Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder scoring in the final four minutes – but a 2-0 defeat in Barcelona in their penultimate group outing left Inter's hopes in the balance. It took a 2-0 San Siro win against Rubin on Matchday 6, achieved thanks to a goal in each half from Eto'o and Mario Balotelli, to secure progress.
Round of 16
FC Internazionale Milano 2-1, 1-0 Chelsea FC (agg: 3-1)
After three successive last-16 eliminations, the draw pitted Mourinho against his former club and the Inter coach enjoyed home-and-away wins. Milito and Esteban Cambiasso scored early in each half in Milan to give Inter a first-leg advantage after Salomon Kalou had briefly restored parity. The Italian side then produced what would prove to be the first in a series of sterling defensive displays to protect that narrow lead at Stamford Bridge, Eto'o racing through onto Sneijder's defence-splitting pass with 12 minutes remaining to complete a fine victory.
FC Internazionale Milano 1-0, 1-0 PFC CSKA Moskva (agg: 2-0)
Against opponents in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time, Inter again ensured an advantage for the second, away, leg, Milito scoring the only goal in Milan after 65 minutes. The tie was effectively settled just six minutes into the return, Sneijder's free-kick booking Inter's first semi-final spot since 2003.
FC Internazionale Milano 3-1, 0-1 FC Barcelona (agg: 3-2)
For the third round running Mourinho's men made full use of home advantage in the first leg despite falling behind to Pedro Rodríguez's opener (19). Goran Pandev played in Sneijder to level with a low shot 11 minutes later and Inter stepped up the pressure after half-time, getting their reward within three minutes when Maicon put them in front. Milito headed in a third (61) after Sneijder had miscued his own attempt. Inter therefore travelled to the Camp Nou with high hopes but an already tough task was made even more daunting when Thiago Motta was dismissed before the half-hour mark. Nevertheless, another superb tactical display held Barcelona at bay until the 84th minute, Gérard Pique finally breaking the deadlock, but it was too late for the holders as Inter held firm to reach the final for the first time since 1972.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.