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Inter set on Sporting challenge

Published: Sunday 12 November 2006, 21.45CET
Two successive wins have put FC Internazionale Milano firmly in contention to claim the second qualifying place but Sporting Clube de Portugal have hopes too.

Tournament statistics

InternazionaleSporting

Goals scored7
 
3
Attempts on target47
 
26
Attempts off target30
 
47
Corners20
 
33
Offsides31
 
20
Fouls committed136
 
112
Yellow cards17
 
13
Red cards3
 
0
 
Published: Sunday 12 November 2006, 21.45CET

Inter set on Sporting challenge

Two successive wins have put FC Internazionale Milano firmly in contention to claim the second qualifying place but Sporting Clube de Portugal have hopes too.

Two successive wins have put FC Internazionale Milano firmly in contention to claim the second qualifying place in Group B alongside FC Bayern München and their destiny could be decided with this game as Sporting Clube de Portugal lie a point behind them in third place. A victory for the German champions in the section's other fixture at FC Spartak Moskva would put first place out of reach for both these sides while Inter know that a win will also guarantee them a runners-up berth.

Figo return
• The campaign got off on the wrong foot for the Serie A pacesetters when they went down 1-0 in the Estádio José Alvalade on 12 September and had Patrick Vieira sent off. It proved a miserable return for Inter winger Luís Figo, who had spent the first six years of an illustrious career at the Lisbon club, as Marco Caneira's stunning second-half volley gave the home team a memorable success.

• It was Sporting's first win against Inter home or away - they had met in two previous campaigns, the 1990/91 UEFA Cup semi-final and the third qualifying round for the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League and the four games produced matching results in Portugal (0-0) and Italy (2-0 to Inter).

Home strength
• Since their 1-0 win against SL Benfica in the 1965 European Champion Clubs' Cup final - a game staged at San Siro – Inter have played eight home games against Portuguese opposition, seven of which have resulted in wins. The only time they were denied came in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup first round when Boavista FC forced a scoreless draw to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate.

• In their last game in Group B Inter had the benefit of an early goal - as they had been on Matchday 3. In each case Spartak provided the opposition and Julio Cruz the early breakthrough, his lone goal in Moscow three weeks ago being enough to divide the teams while he also grabbed the second goal in the 2-1 home win two weeks before. The Nerazzurri's other home game in the group had ended in a 2-0 victory for Bayern in Munich and more disciplinary problems for Roberto Mancini as Zlatan Ibrahimović and Fabio Grosso both received red cards.

• Sporting stopped Bayern's 100 per cent record on Matchday 4 with a 0-0 draw in the Fußball Arena München. Their previous away game in the section had also seen them return home with a point as Nani scored a second-half equaliser in Moscow to cancel out Denis Boyarintsev's early goal for Spartak in the first UEFA Champions League match to be played on a synthetic pitch.

Tough in Italy
• Sporting have played ten matches in Italy and have lost seven, including all the last five. Their only win came in the 1963/64 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round when they defeated Atalanta BC 3-1, en route to winning the trophy.

• Apart from those two 2-0 defeats to Inter in Italy they also went down by the same score there against Inter’s rivals, AC Milan. That came in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round.

Last updated: 15/11/06 11.19CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2006/matches/round=2357/match=1116380/prematch/background/index.html#inter+sporting+challenge

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