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Leonardo hails Inter's divine intervention

Leonardo thanked God "for letting me experience this feeling tonight" after FC Internazionale Milano's title defence was dramatically resurrected at FC Bayern München in the last 16.

Leonardo hails Inter's divine intervention
Leonardo hails Inter's divine intervention ©UEFA.com

FC Internazionale Milano coach Leonardo thanked God "for letting me experience this feeling tonight" after the UEFA Champions League holders' dramatic resurrection at FC Bayern München. The defence of a title they won against the German side last May looked over with Bayern leading 3-1 on aggregate at half-time in Bavaria. Yet Wesley Sneijder pulled one back, paving the way for Goran Pandev's 88th-minute winner, leaving home coach Louis van Gaal ruing his side "wanting too much".

Louis van Gaal, Bayern coach
We wanted too much, which is a pity. It's not the first time this has happened: four or five times already this season we have given away a match we should have won and today it happened again. We could have settled matters earlier. Instead Inter are still standing, still have a chance – even if they hardly created any tonight, they did convert them. That's always a possibility in football.

At half-time I told the team that we needed to stay compact and we created many chances even after that. We had one situation where three Bayern players were advancing on one Inter defender and we should have capitalised. Afterwards, we should have stayed compact, but we didn't and ran into trouble. That's what I meant when I warned them not to want too much. We made too many defensive mistakes, conceded too easily.

The players gave their all, which is the criterion for a coach to judge if he is still getting through to the team. They enjoyed the match and so did the fans; now we are all disappointed we lost but we witnessed a good match.

Leonardo, Inter coach
It is very difficult to explain this game – we won, that's all that matters. I don't want to go into technical details now; I prefer to focus on my players' heart. We planned the game very well, scored immediately and played well until the game turned in Bayern's favour. They scored the second and could have had more but we finally managed to reorganise and played a great second half.

We did well, retaining possession and waiting for the best moments to hit them. We created a few opportunities even if we risked conceding as well. I'm so happy for Pandev, who has had a very difficult period. He has been criticised for missing a few chances but he has always continued to work hard and he has been repaid tonight. It's a great moment, a fantastic joy and I can only thank God for letting me experience this feeling tonight.

It's a historic result considering how difficult the game was and how strong our opponents were but we have already done something like this in the league, coming from behind and scoring in the final minutes. It's a sign that these players have great faith in the team, we never give up. The European champions are still standing.

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