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Cambiasso strike takes Inter into knockout stage

FC Internazionale Milano 1-0 FC Twente
Esteban Cambiasso's strike ten minutes into the second half was sufficient for the holders to confirm their progress from Group A.

Cambiasso strike takes Inter into knockout stage
Cambiasso strike takes Inter into knockout stage ©UEFA.com

Esteban Cambiasso's second-half strike booked FC Internazionale Milano's place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League at the expense of FC Twente.

The European champions, ravaged by injuries, struggled to translate dominance into goals, but Cambiasso's effort ten minutes after the break was just reward for a hard-working performance. Defeat ended the prospect of the Dutch titleholders' continuing involvement, but they are sure of finishing third and a UEFA Europa League berth.

Inter's profligacy began early on, Wesley Sneijder shinning a glorious chance wide from four metres in the second minute after Jonathan Biabiany picked him out. Playing just behind Samuel Eto'o, Sneijder was a constant thorn in Twente's side and, after forcing a foul from Peter Wisgerhof, Inter's No10 curled the resulting free-kick against the bar with Nikolay Mihaylov beaten.

Though Twente went close on 12 minutes when Bryan Ruiz headed wide, the visitors were largely pegged back in their own half, as Dejan Stanković and Biabiany both tried their luck from range. Mihaylov then blocked Goran Pandev's effort from ten metres before palming away Eto'o's curler.

For all their possession, Inter were almost caught cold on the half-hour mark, when a loose ball fell to Theo Janssen on the edge of the area, and the 29-year-old's strike was well saved by Luca Castellazzi. Within seconds the visitors launched another counterattack only for Nacer Chadli to send a cross-shot beyond the far post, with Marc Janko free in the area.

At the other end Biabiany headed Sneijder's corner narrowly wide before Cambiasso's goal-bound shot was blocked by the head of Thilo Leugers. Inter were struggling for fluency but battling hard, Biabiany causing the Dutch champions problems with his pace and teeing up Eto'o, who forced another save from Mihaylov on 50 minutes. When the breakthrough came it was scrappy and fortuitous, Sneijder's free-kick ricocheting off two players and into the path of Cambiasso, who gratefully accepted the chance.

The hosts now had their tails up and Javier Zanetti almost doubled his tally for the season after weaving his way past four players before forcing another save from the besieged Mihaylov. Inter were carving through Michel Preud'homme's men at will but squandering chances, Sneijder poking wide when through on goal and Stanković blazing over on 69 minutes. The hosts might have been made to pay by Denny Landzaat, who hit the bar on 75 minutes, but Inter held out.